NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF UKRAINE
State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Actaea spicata L.

Synonym
  • Actaea christophoriana Gouan
  • Actaea corymbosa Stokes
  • Actaea densiflora M. Kral
  • Actaea nigra (L.) Gaertn., Mey. & Schreb.
  • Actaea racemosa Gilib.
Vernacular Name
Baneberry, Eurasian Baneberry, Herb Christopher
Images
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Medicinal plant; Ornamental species; Poisonous species
Remarks
Detail
A species of flowering plant in the genus Actaea, native to Eastern 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. 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. 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.
Book reference
  • Літопис природи. Природний заповідник «Медобори». 2018, т.26. – Гримайлів, 2019. – 509 с.
Experts

Taxonomic branch

Biota
Eukaryota
Plantae
Viridiplantae
Tracheophyta
Euphyllophytina
Magnoliopsida
Ranunculales
Ranunculaceae
PARTNERS