Scientific Name:
Actaea spp
protoanemonin irritants
Flower Color:
woodlands, hillsides, uplands, ravines

Geographical Distribution

Baneberry distribution - United States


Actaea spp

White cohosh, Necklace weed, Cohosh, Dolls eyes, Herb-Christopher, White baneberry, Snakeberry, Pain de Couleuvre
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Baneberries (Actaea spp are a collection of perennial herbs of the family Ranunculaceae. They are native to subtropical, temperate and subarctic regions of North America, Asia, and Europe. Baneberries produce small white flowers in terminal racemes in the spring, and berry-like fruits in the summer or early autumn. The color of the berries varies depending on the species. Actaea pachypoda berries are white, A. rubra are red, and A. spicata are purplish-black.

Baneberries contain protoanemonin, which is a cardiogenic toxin and irritant. Many references claim it isn't toxic to wild birds just because birds are known to disperse the seeds. It isn't that the berries aren't toxic to them, it's that they don't actually consume the toxic parts.


  • Blistering and ulceration of the mouth
  • salivation
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea