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Actaea rubra

Actaea rubra (Aiton) Willd.

 

Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderRanunculalesBasal (evolved earlier) eudicots, also called “true dicots”
FamilyRanunculaceaeButtercup family
GenusActaeaFrom ancient Greek, signifying a wet habitat and its leaves’ similarity to Sambucus leaves
SpeciesrubraFrom the Latin ruber or rubra meaning “red”

About plant names...

Red baneberry is called baneberry because of its poisonous nature. It is a North American native.

Identification: Red baneberry is 12-36" (30-91 cm) high. Flowerheads (racemes) of small white flowers ¼" (6.3 mm) across have a roselike odor. Berries are oval when green, becoming rounder and bright or dark red when ripe. On all of the baneberries, leaves often occur in groups of three, on thin stems, and are saw-toothed.

Some variants are compared below:

 

Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm) ID is uncertain

Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

12/9/2014 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA

 
Actaea pachypoda f. rubrocarpa

Actaea pachypoda
You are here
Actaea rubra
Common Name

Doll’s-eyes

White Baneberry

Red Baneberry
Flowers Flowerheads of small white flowers are roughly oval in shape. Each flower is ¼" (6.3 mm) across. Flowerheads of small white flowers are roughly oval in shape. Each flower is ¼" (6.3 mm) across. Feathery flowerheads of small white flowers are roughly oval in shape. Each flower is ¼" (6.3 mm) across. Flowers have a roselike fragrance.
Fruit Red berries supported by pedicels that are ⅛" (3 mm) or more in thickness. Instead of the tomato red of red baneberry, these berries have a more luminous deep magenta color, becoming more purplish with time. White berries supported by red pedicels that are ⅛" (3 mm) or more in thickness. Berry tips have black-purple spot. Bright or dark red, oval berries are supported by pedicels that are less than ⅛" (3 mm) thick.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 3-8

Type Wild Wild Wild
Occurrence Rare Common Common

 

 
Actaea rubra cv. Filkins
Common Name

Red Baneberry
Flowers Feathery flowerheads of small white flowers are roughly oval in shape. Each flower is ¼" (6.3 mm) across. Flowers have a roselike fragrance.
Fruit Bright or dark red, oval berries are supported by pedicels that are less than ⅛" (3 mm) thick.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 9-11
Type Cultivar

 

Edibility: Skull & Crossbones All parts of this plant are poisonous. Causes burning of the mouth and throat, salivation, stomach cramps, headache, diarrhea, dizziness, and hallucinations. Berries have caused fatalities in children.

Online References:

Actaea rubra on Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah

Actaea rubra on Earl J.S. Rook's Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky ... The Natural History of the Northwoods

Actaea rubra at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Actaea rubra on Wikipedia

Actaea rubra at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Actaea rubra on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Actaea rubra on Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness

Actaea rubra on CalPhotos

Actaea rubra on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Actaea rubra on eFloras

Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

7/10/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm) ID is uncertain

Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 29 × 19" (72 × 48 cm)

Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 31 × 21" (78 × 52 cm)

Actaea rubra description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

6/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 8 × 9" (20 × 22 cm) ID is uncertain

Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

6/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry, Red Cohosh, Snakeberry, Cohosh)

6/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 17 × 16" (42 × 41 cm)

Range:

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