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Baneberry, red

  • Actaea rubra L.

Baneberry, white

  • Actaea pachypoda L.
  • Buttercup family

      Common Names

      herbsWhite baneberry is known as Doll's eyes

      Parts Usually Used

      Root, in both red and white baneberry.

      Description of Plant(s) and Culture

      Red baneberry is a perennial; 2-3 ft. tall. Similar to white baneberry, though the flowerhead is rounder, and the berries are red and on less stout stalks. It fruits July to October.

      White baneberry is a perennial, 1-2 ft. tall. Leaves twice-divided, leaflets oblong, sharp-toothed. Flowers in oblong clusters on thick red stalks. Fleshy white berries with a dark dot at the tip; fruits July to October. Flowers April to June.

      Where Found

      Found in rich woods. Southern Canada to northern New Jersey, West Virginia, west through Ohio and Iowa to South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, and Oregon.


      American Indians used red baneberry root tea for menstrual irregularity, postpartum pains, and as a purgative after childbirth; also used to treat coughs and colds.

      Menominees used small amount of white baneberry root tea to relieve pain of childbirth, headaches due to eye strain. Once used for coughs, menstrual irregularities, colds, and chronic constipation; thought to be beneficial to circulation.


      All parts of white baneberry may cause severe gastrointestinal inflammation and skin blisters. Its use is not recommended.

      Red baneberry is poisonous. May cause vomiting, gastroenteritis, irregular breathing, and delirium. Its use is not recommended. These herbs are poisonous.

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