|Merrill and his Cohosh|
Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa). previously called Cimicifuga racemosa is also called bugbane because of its insect repelling odor. It tends to grow in richer soil in shaded areas, and is partial to small openings in the woods like Merrill's.
Cohosh flowers in the late spring to early summer with blooms atop tall spiked stems. The flowers have no petals or sepals, just small white stamens surrounding a white stigma. They do not attract butterflies in general, relying instead on their sweet fetid odor which attracts flies, gnats, and beetles to spread their pollen.
|Tripinnate leaf- all one leaf|
In other words, what you see in this picture is all one big leaf.
Native Americans used the ground roots and rhizomes for the treatment of pain and inflammation. Nineteenth century eclectic physicians used it for a wide variety of disorders. Now there are serious studies in progress on its use in treating menopausal hot flashes, described in this NIH Fact Sheet.
Merrill's patch probably won't ever bring him out of retirement for a fourth time, although with his Master Gardener training, you never know what he will do next. For now the Cohosh provide a pretty sight in the understory of his woods.
Good pictures and descriptions at missouriplants.com,
and facts are at Wikipedia.