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Actaea rubra - (Aiton.)Willd.

Common Name Red Baneberry
Family Ranunculaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards All parts of the plant are toxic[172], apparently acting upon the heart[212].
Habitats Moist shady areas, mostly in deciduous forests but also in mixed coniferous forests, open pine or spruce woodlands, swales, stream banks and swamps from sea level to 3500 metres[270].
Range N. America - Alaska to California and eastwards to Newfoundland and Philadelphia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Actaea rubra Red Baneberry


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund
Actaea rubra Red Baneberry
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Actaea rubra is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

A. arguta. Nutt.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; not Deep Shade;

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Analgesic;  Antirheumatic;  Appetizer;  Emetic;  Galactogogue;  Purgative;  Rubefacient.

The whole plant, but especially the root, is analgesic, antirheumatic, galactogogue and rubefacient[172, 257]. The plant was often used medicinally by North American Indian tribes, though modern users should be aware of the plants potential toxicity. A tea made from the root is used as an appetizer, in the treatment of stomach pains, coughs, colds, menstrual irregularities, post partum pains, to increase milk flow and as a purgative after childbirth[222, 257]. Great caution should be employed if using this plant internally, the rootstock is a violent purgative, irritant and emetic[212].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Tolerates most conditions[233], but prefers a humus-rich moist soil in light shade[200, 233] doing well amongst shrubs and in light woods[1]. Also succeeds in denser shade[187]. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c[187]. A very ornamental plant[1]. Actaea rubra is part of a circumboreal complex and is very similar to the black-fruited European species A . spicata (L.) with which it is sometimes considered conspecific[270]. The western North American plants of A . rubra have been called A . arguta and were distinguished on the basis of their smaller berries, more pubescent leaves, and narrow, more dissected leaflets. Those distinctions, however, are weak; specimens from the West often have fruits and leaves similar to those of plants from the East[270]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame or outdoors in a moist shaded seedbed[200]. The seed has a limited viability[200], it can also be sown in spring in a cold frame but germination rates may be poor. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Division in March or October.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Actaea pachypodaWhite Baneberry02
Actaea spicataHerb Christopher, Baneberry01
Cimicifuga racemosa (Actaea racemosa)Black Cohosh, Black Snakeroot, Bugbane14

 

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Expert comment

Author

(Aiton.)Willd.

Botanical References

200270

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Alan Bennett   Tue Nov 27 18:53:19 2001

The range for Actaea rubra is not only Western North America as your site describes, but also circumboreal from Alaska to Labrador, ranging South, from New Jersey to Illinois and Nebraska.

See -

http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/plant_profile.cgi?symbol=ACRU2

It may be that the range described on your site is that for the Western variant, ssp. arguta, and excludes the Eastern variant, ssp. rubra.

See -

http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/plant_profile.cgi?symbol=ACRUA8

http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/plant_profile.cgi?symbol=ACRUR2

Although these two variants have previously been split, they are now widely (if not universally) lumped as one species. For my purposes, however, the distinctness of the genetic lineages of these subspecies is sufficient that I grow & use only the Eastern variety to preserve the genetic integrity of this area's natural heritage.

Chantal Par   Tue Aug 17 15:46:48 2004

Link: Canada Gardens!

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Subject : Actaea rubra  
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