Actaea rubra

red baneberry

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

The striking feature of this woodland perennial is the cluster of bright fire-engine red berries in late summer and autumn. In springtime the bright green foliage emerges and stalks arise with a small constellation of white flowers at the top. Over the course of the summer they develop into the dazzling fruit. Please note that the berries are poisonous; however, they have a very bitter taste and it is unlikely that anyone would eat more than one or enough to cause serious problems. Nevertheless, as with all such things, education is primary because red baneberry is found in the wild throughout much of the U.S. and Canada.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: clumping perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 2 ft. 0 in. (0.61 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 1 ft. 0 in. (0.30 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 8

Flower Color: cream

Sun/Light Exposure: open to dappled shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering or drought tolerant once established

Seasonal Interest: small clusters of white flowers in spring and dazzling red berries in late summer

Wildlife Associations: bees, butterflies

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: blue, dark green, violet

Great Color Partners: chartreuse, orange, red

Culture Notes
Plant red baneberry in open to dappled shade with well-drained soil and occasional watering, although it is drought tolerant once established.