Actaea rubra (Aiton) Willd.
baneberry (red baneberry)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #89418)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Actaea rubra
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial herb from stout, branched, woody stem-base and fibrous roots; stems 1 to several, erect, 40-100 cm tall, usually branched, sparsely-hairy.
All stem leaves (one very low, and 1 or 2 mid- or upper-stem leaves), alternate, long-stalked, 2 to 3 times divided in threes or pinnately compound, the segments egg-shaped, (2) 3-9 cm long, the margins sharply cleft, irregularly toothed.
Inflorescence of terminal and axillary, many-flowered racemes, the flowers radially symmetric; flower stalks 5-8 mm long; petals 5-10, white to cream-coloured, 2-3.5 mm long, egg- to spoon-shaped, clawed; sepals 3 to 5, early deciduous, petal-like, round, whitish- or purplish-green, 2-4 mm long; pistil 1; stamens many, longer than the petals.
Berries, red or sometimes white, widely ellipsoid, 5-11 mm long; stalks 6-15 mm long; seeds brown, cone- to wedge-shaped, 3-3.5 mm long, surface wrinkled.
Fruit toxic to humans. The plant is usually red-fruited, however, the white-fruited forma neglecta (Gillman) Robins. can be more common in some localities.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Actaea rubra

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
987 0 2750
Slope Gradient (%)
17 0 205

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

23 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 1 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(3), BWBS(294), CWH(189), ESSF(617), ICH(985), IDF(226), IMA(1), MH(8), MS(323), PP(4), SBPS(28), SBS(984), SWB(3)

Habitat and Range

Moist to mesic streambanks, woodlands and forests in the lowland and montane zones; frequent throughout BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to NJ, OH, SD, NM, AZ and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Actaea rubra subsp. arguta (Nutt.) Hultén
Actaea rubra subsp. rubra (Aiton) Willd.