Herbs & Plants

Actaea spicata

Botanical Name: Actaea spicata
Family: Ranunculaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Actaea
Species: A. spicata

Common Names: Baneberry, Eurasian baneberry, or Herb Christopher

Habitat:Actaea spicata is native to Eastern Europe and western Asia. It grows in ash woods on limestone and in damp stony woods to 1500 metres

Actaea spicata is a herbaceous perennial plant growing 30–60 cm tall. It has toothed, bipinnate compound leaves up to 40 cm long and 30 cm broad.It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Beetles, flies. The flowers are white, with 4–6 petaloid sepals, and are produced in an erect raceme about 10 cm long. The fruit is an oval glossy black berry, 10–11 mm long and 8 mm diameter.


There are two varieties:
*Actaea spicata var. spicata. Europe, northwestern Asia; at 0–1900 m altitude.
*Actaea spicata var. acuminata (syn. A. acuminata). Southwestern Asia, Himalaya, at 2500–3700 m altitude.

Cultivation: Succeeds in most conditions, but prefers a humus-rich moist soil in light shade doing well amongst shrubs and in light woods. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.

Edible Uses: Not known.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is antispasmodic, cytostatic, emetic, nervine and purgative. In Canada the root is used in the treatment of snakebite. It is also considered useful in the treatment of nervous disorders and rheumatic fever. In India it is used in the treatment of rheumatism, goitre and asthma. This remedy should be used with some caution, see the notes below on Known Hazards.

Other Uses:
The smell of the plant is reputed to drive away vermin. A black dye is obtained from the berries when alum is used as a mordant. The seeds contain tannin.

Known Hazards: All parts of plant are poisonous but rarely fatal.

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


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