|Actaea spicata fruit|
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
The berries contain cardiogenic toxins which can have an immediate sedative effect on human cardiac muscle tissue, and are the most poisonous part of the plant. Ingestion of the berries can lead to cardiac arrest and death. The berries are harmless to birds, the plants' primary seed dispersers.
- Flora Europaea: Actaea spicata
- Nepal Checklist: Actaea spicata var. acuminata
- "Actaea spicata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- Plants for a Future: Actaea spicata
- Edible and Medicinal plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Baneberry.|