Actaea – Baneberry
A Genus of about 8 species of frost hardy perennials from Europe, temperate Asia and North America. Found mostly in damp woodlands and on limestone outcrops. They’re grown for their foliage, which are large compound leaves, groups of 2-3 leaflets around common stem springing from the root-crown. The leaves are thin and broad with strong vein and sharp-toothed edges. Short feathery spikes that are hardly detectable are the flowers. The berries can be white, red, or black bearing on contrasting stalks.
All parts of this plant are poisons especially the berries.
They thrive in cool moist climate moderately fertile soil or enrich with plant mold in partial shade. Simulate a sheltered woodland conditions or place in a cool spot in a rock garden. Water thoroughly in dry weather. They can be divided.
Prone to Ramularia leaf spot, Ascochyta leaf spots and leaf smut occur.
Actaea rubrum – Actaea erythrocarpa of gardens – Red baneberry – Snakeberry – A clump forming perennial 2’ feet tall and 2’ feet across native to central and east north America. Leaflets are composed of 3-15 rounded to egg shape leaves. In mid spring to early summer white flowers are clustered together in round heads on wiry stems 1 ¼-2” long. Followed by spikes of shiny red globular or circular bright red berries ¼-1/2” across on slender green stalks.