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Actaea spicata

Actaea spicata

Actaea spicata fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Actaea
Species: A. spicata
Binomial name
Actaea spicata

Actaea spicata (Baneberry, Eurasian Baneberry, or Herb Christopher) is a species of flowering plant in the genus Actaea, native to Europe and western Asia.

It 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. 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 and uses

It is an extremely poisonous plant. Despite this, it was used in the past in herbal medicines. It is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.


  • Flora Europaea: Actaea spicata
  • Nepal Checklist: Actaea spicata var. acuminata
  • Germplasm Resources Information Network: Actaea spicata
  • Plants for a Future: Actaea spicata
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Actaea_spicata". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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