Saturday, May 16, 2009

Discovering Baneberry

Actaea rubra
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)
This plant is a rhizomatous perennial growing up to three feet tall. These pictures were taken at McLane Creek, WA in the middle of its blooming season. It generally grows in moist, shady places at lower elevations and is widespread in BC & WA. All parts of this plant are highly poisonous so don't eat it.

Although A. rubra appears to be quite bushy, each plant actually consists of one to a few erect, leafy stems. Each leaf is divided up to three times into leaflets of three which are sharply toothed and lobed. Neither the leaves nor the stem are hairy.

The inflorescence is a very soft looking cluster of many small white flowers on the end of a long stalk. They look fuzzy because of their very long stamen which protrude in all directions, each with a little ball-like anther.

References I used
"Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast" by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon
"Trees, Shrubs & Flowers to Know in Washington & British Columbia" by C.P. Lyons and Bill Merilees

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