This is one of those confusing genera. Taxonomists may include the species from Actaea in the genus Cimicifugia or Souliea or vice versa. There are about 25 species included in this group. They are native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

This genus was named by Linnaeus with the Latin word for elderberry which the leaves of Actea resemble. The term "bane" seen in so many plant common names comes from the Anglo-Saxon word, bana, meaning "murderous".

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