WSU Clark County Extension

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Red Baneberry

Scientific name: Actaea rubra

Type:Herbaceous perennials
Plant Requirements
Zone:4 to 8
Sun:Partial shade
Plant Characteristics
Height:3 ft
Width:3 ft
Bloom:Showy flowers
Bloom Time:April to May
Bloom Color:White
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Red Baneberry is a beautiful Northwest woodland native recognized by its fine-textured foliage and a light and airy texture. It is also known as Red Cohosh or Snakeberry.

This is an herbaceous perennial which grows 1’-3’ tall and as wide. Leaves are alternate, 2 to 3 times compound, sharply toothed and lobed. Its lacy leaves resemble those of Astilbe and its similar needs make it a great native substitute.

Flowers consist of 2” long racemes with small white petals, showy stamens and a rose like fragrance. Flowers first appear in April. As the flowers fade glistening red berries form. Within are red-brown seeds which are about 1/8” long. Small animals and birds are attracted to the berries.

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 poisonous.

Red Baneberry grows from Alaska to California, on both sides of the Cascades, east through Canada and northern U.S. to the Atlantic and south in the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico. It prefers rich, cool damp woodlands and does best in partial shade.

None reported.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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