Herbs & Plants

Red Baneberry

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Botanical Name :Actaea arguta
Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Ranunculoideae
Tribes: Actaeeae
Genus: Actaea
Species: Actaea rubra
Subspecies: Actaea rubra
Regnum: Plantae
Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta
Order: Ranunculales
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida

Synonyms:Synonyms: Actaea arguta, Actaea eburnea, Actaea neglecta, Actaea rubra ssp. arguta, Actaea rubra var. arguta, Actaea rubra var. dissecta, Actaea spicata, Actaea spicata var. rubra, Actaea viridiflora

Common Name :Baneberry or Red Baneberry
red baneberry
Actaea: an ancient Greek name, from its wet habitat and similarity to Sambucus leaves
rubra: Latin for red

Habitat :Native to USA (AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY), CAN (AB, BC, SK, YT) Baneberry may be found from Alaska south to California and east to the Rockies, and found again along the Atlantic coast.

In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 100′-4400′ from east of Troutdale, OR east to near the Major Creek Plateau.

Baneberry may be found in moist, dark woods and along streambanks, primarily west of the Cascades, but also eastward in moist, mountainous areas.

Baneberry is an attractive wildflower with one to several erect and branched stems arising 40-100 cm high from a cluster of lower leaves. All the large leaves are found on the stem. Individual leaves are twice to thrice pinnatifid, the leaflets ovate in shape tapering to a point, and the the margins of the leaflets having coarse teeth or lobes. Individual leaflets measure from 3-9 cm long.alternate; 2-3 times 3-parted into separate, sharply toothed, oval-oblong leaflets often with some hairs in the bottom

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The inflorescence consists of axillary or terminal clusters of many small white flowers. The 3-5 sepals are white or purplish-tinged and measure about 2-3 mm long. The 5-10 white petals are narrow and are roughly about the same size as the sepals. The stamens are longer than the petals. The fruit are red or white in color and are spherical to ellipsoid in shape, measuring from 5-11 mm long.

As noted in the photo above, baneberry is an attractive plant for the natural border in the garden. The lacy leaves and the vibrant red or white fruit are both reasons to use this wildflower in the garden, although one should remember that the fruits are deadly poisonous.

Plant:  erect, perennial, 1 1/2′-3′ tall forb
Flower:  white, 4-10-parted, petals falling off leaving numerous white stamens; mature stigma narrower than the ovary; inflorescence a 2″ ball-like, dense, long-stalked cluster usually about as wide as long; blooms May-June
Fruit: several seeded, red berry, occasionally white, on greenish, thin stalks

Medicinal Uses:
Internally, the root has the same uses as Black Cohosh, with the exception of the estrogenic ones.  The roots have been considered laxative and capable of causing vomiting.  They have been ground, mixed with tobacco or grease, and rubbed on the body to treat rheumatism.  The powdered root is a good counterirritant, the powder mixed with hot water, applied where appropriate, and covered with hot towels.  A pinch of the dried ground seeds added to a dish of food was once a treatment for diarrhea.  Ground seeds mixed with pine pitch were applied as a poultice for neuralgia. The dried root is made into a strong tea, a little bit of which is drunk and the rest used as a pain-relieving wash for acute arthritis and swollen joints.  Sometimes powdered wild tobacco is moistened with the baneberry for a poultice and the mixture covered with cheesecloth or muslin to hold it in place.

Known Hazards: Barries are highly posoinous.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Red Baneberry

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