Actaea rubra (Ait.) Willd.
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
A bushy plant with large, highly divided leaves and a short, thick, rounded cluster of small white flowers in leaf axils or at stem
ends. The branched, 1-3 ft. stems of this perennial
bear two or three large compound
leaves, each thrice divided. Leaflets are deeply saw-toothed. Above the foliage are dense, globular clusters of small white flowers. The fruit
is an attractive, but poisonous, red berry.
In flower, the stamens
give each cluster a feathery appearance.
Image Gallery: 10 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Flower:
Green, Red Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
AK , AZ , CA , CO , CT , ID , IL , IN , IA , KS , ME , MA , MI , MN , MT , NE , NV , NH , NJ , NM , NY , ND , OH , OR , PA , RI , SD , UT , VT , WA , WI , WY Canada: AB
, QC Native Distribution:
Transcontinental Canada, s. to NJ, IA, KS & CA Native Habitat:
Rich, moist, deciduous
& coniferous woods & thickets USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Well-drained, humus-rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Red baneberry is often found in association with its close relative, White baneberry (Actaea alba).
BenefitWarning: The berries of Red Baneberry (and White Baneberry) are very poisonous if ingested and may affect the nervous system. European species have fatally poisoned children, but baneberries are not reported to have caused death to humans or livestock in the United States. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil. POISONOUS PARTS: All parts, mainly showy berries and roots. Toxic if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include burning of mouth and throat, salivation, severe stomach cramps, headache, diarrhea, dizziness and hallucinations. Toxic Principle: Unknown, glycoside or essential oil, protoanemonin. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes