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Actaea rubra

Red Baneberry

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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.

Benefits

Woodland plant with delicate texture
White flowers in late spring
Attractive red berries in late summer
Easy to grow and long-lived
Provides food for birds and mammals

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

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.


Height
18-30 Inches

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Spread
18-24 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Native Range

Actaea rubra is found throughout the northern US in moist shady areas, often in deciduous forests but also in mixed coniferous forests, open pine or spruce woodlands, swales, stream banks and swamps.

Distribution Map

Native Trivia

Birds that are attracted to Actaea fruit include Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, American Robin, Gray Cheeked Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Gray Catbird, and Grouse.

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


"Many small mammals feast on the scarlet seeds of Baneberry. Birds like them too!"

Good Companions
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Low Perennials
Medium Perennials
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Shade
Soil
Humus-rich
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
Mammals
Songbirds
Bloom Time
Late Spring / Early Summer
Critter Resistance
Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Habitat Collection
Dry Shade
Songbird
Native Habitat
Forest
Foliage Color
Green
Uses
Border
Container
Ground cover
Mass plant
Ornamental fruit
Native to
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kentucky
Maine
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Utah
Vermont
Washington
Wisconsin
Wyoming