Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Red Baneberry, Snakeberry
Actaea rubra

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Actaea (ak-TEE-uh) (Info)
Species: rubra (ROO-bruh) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

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There are a total of 17 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive plant_it On May 27, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Red Baneberry is a lovely woodland native with fine-textured foliage and a light and airy texture. Its lacy leaves resemble those of Astilbe and its similar needs make it a great native substitute. In late spring and early summer lightly scented, delicate white flowers appear above the foliage. Flowers give way to clusters of bright red berries in late summer that are attractive to mammals and many songbirds. Planted in groups, it is a lovely groundcover and it combines well with other woodland natives such as wild ginger and wood ferns.

Grow Actaea rubra in part or full shade and moist, rich soils. It will be happy in the shade of conifers or deciduous trees, but will have more flowers if morning or afternoon sun is available. Baneberry benefits from allowing leaf litter to remain at the base or mulching with composted leaves. A late fall cut back is not necessary for the plant, but will tidy up the garden for winter.

Birds that are attracted to Actaea fruit include Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, American Robin, Gray Cheeked Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Gray Catbird, and Grouse. Some small mammals also eat the berries including deer mice, white-footed mice, red squirrel, eastern chipmunks, and red-backed voles. Several species of birds that use baneberry eat the fruit but void the seeds, while some of the small mammals remove and eat the seeds leaving the the pulp.

All parts of Actaea rubra are poisonous, but the taste of the berries and leaves is extremely bitter so a toxic dose is unlikely.

(Height usually 18-30 inches, spread 18-24 inches)

Positive Weezingreens On Aug 26, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Red Baneberry often grow beneath the cottonwood trees in Southcentral Alaska. It has a compact growing habit, and both the tiny clustered flowers and bright red berries are attractive. Though it transplants well, this plant should not be brought into the garden if there is any likelihood that the berries will be eaten, since they are extremely poisoness.

Neutral poppysue On May 29, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

A native of North America that can be found growing in rich woods and thickets from Canada south to West Virginia. It's a bushy plant with divided leaves and clusters of 2-inch racemes of tiny white flowers. The faded flowers will form into clusters of bright red berries that last well into autumn. Berries are poisonous and caution should be taken if you have children. Plants prefer cool, moist and fertile soil in partial shade making them ideal for a woodland garden.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Rockford, Illinois
Valparaiso, Indiana
Munising, Michigan
Isle, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
New Ulm, Minnesota
Saint Peter, Minnesota
Helena, Montana
Buffalo, New York
Oneonta, New York
Pittsford, New York
Voorheesville, New York
Salem, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Port Orchard, Washington

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