Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Occurrence in North America

     AK  AZ  CA  CO  CT  HI  ID  IN  IA  KS
     ME  MA  MI  MN  MT  NE  NH  NJ  NM  NY
     ND  OH  OR  PA  RI  SD  UT  VT  WA  WV
     WI  WY  AB  BC  LB  MB  NB  NF  NS  ON
     PE  PQ  KS

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Red baneberry is found in moist woods in the Northern Temperate Zone of
North America and Eurasia [57,59].  Its range in western North America
extends from Alaska south through the Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada
in California through the Rocky Mountains to Arizona and New Mexico.  It
is distributed transcontinentally across northern North America from the
West Coast to New England and Labrador.  In the East and Midwest, it
reaches its southern limits in New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa, and Kansas
[32,38,57,72].
  • 32.  Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains.        Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p.  [1603]
  • 38.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1964. Vascular plants of the        Pacific Northwest. Part 2: Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae. Seattle, WA:        University of Washington Press. 597 p.  [1166]
  • 57.  Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA:        University of California Press. 1905 p.  [6155]
  • 59.  Pellmyr, Olle. 1985. The pollination biology of Actaea pachypoda and A.        rubra (including A. erythrocarpa) in northern Michigan and Finland.        Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 112(3): 265-273.  [10393]
  • 72.  Stephens, H. A. 1980. Poisonous plants of the central United States.        Lawrence, KS: The Regents Press of Kansas. 165 p.  [3803]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

    1  Northern Pacific Border
    2  Cascade Mountains
    3  Southern Pacific Border
    4  Sierra Mountains
    5  Columbia Plateau
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains
    9  Middle Rocky Mountains
   11  Southern Rocky Mountains
   12  Colorado Plateau
   14  Great Plains
   15  Black Hills Uplift
   16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Ariz., Calif., Colo., Conn., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.Dak., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.Dak., Utah, Vt., Wash., Wis., Wyo.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: apomixis, caudex, rhizome

Red baneberry is a deciduous, perennial herb, usually from 1 to 3 feet
(4-10 dm) tall with one to several branched stems [37,38].  Perennating
tissue appears to be a vertical caudex just under the soil surface
[Stickney, P., pers. comm. 1990] but has also been described as a
rootstock [37,38] or a rhizome [72].  The leaves are alternate, two to
three times compound, sharply toothed and lobed.

The flowers have small white petals, showy stamens, and a roselike
fragrance [59].  Flowers are borne in a terminal or axillary raceme and
pollinated by a variety of insects [59].  These flowers can be
self-fertile, although they are not capable of apomixis [59].  In
Michigan the most common pollinator is an introduced beetle (Phyllobius
oblongus), which uses the inflorescences as mating sites and does not
ingest the pollen.  Fruit set is normally close to 100 percent [59].
The fruits are showy, poisonous, red or occasionally white berries
[38,58].  Each berry contains 9 to 16 red-brown, sector-shaped seeds 0.1
to 1.5 inches (3-4 mm) long [32,72].
  • 32.  Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains.        Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p.  [1603]
  • 37.  Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2d ed.        Chicago: The Swallow Press Inc. 666 p.  [6851]
  • 38.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1964. Vascular plants of the        Pacific Northwest. Part 2: Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae. Seattle, WA:        University of Washington Press. 597 p.  [1166]
  • 58.  Patterson, Patricia A.; Neiman, Kenneth E.; Tonn, Jonalea. 1985. Field        guide to forest plants of northern Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-180.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Research Station. 246 p.  [1839]
  • 59.  Pellmyr, Olle. 1985. The pollination biology of Actaea pachypoda and A.        rubra (including A. erythrocarpa) in northern Michigan and Finland.        Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 112(3): 265-273.  [10393]
  • 72.  Stephens, H. A. 1980. Poisonous plants of the central United States.        Lawrence, KS: The Regents Press of Kansas. 165 p.  [3803]

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Description

Leaf blade: leaflets abaxially glabrous or pubescent. Inflorescences at anthesis often as long as wide, pyramidal. Flowers: petals acute to obtuse at apex; stigma nearly sessile, 0.7-1.2 mm diam. during anthesis, much narrower than ovary. Berries red or white, widely ellipsoid, 5-11 mm; pedicel dull green or brown, slender, 0.3-0.7 mm diam., thinner than axis of raceme. Seeds 2.9-3.6 mm. 2 n = 16.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Actaea spicata Linnaeus var. rubra Aiton, Hort. Kew. 2: 221. 1789; A. arguta Nuttall; A. eburnea Rydberg; A. rubra subsp. arguta (Nuttall) Hultén; A. neglecta Gillman; A. rubra var. dissecta Britton; A. viridiflora Greene
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Type Information

Isoneotype for Actaea spicata var. rubra Aiton
Catalog Number: US 1202628
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. L. Fernald & H. St. John
Year Collected: 1912
Locality: Summerside. Prince., Prince Edward Island, Canada, North America
  • Isoneotype: Aiton, W. 1789. Hort. Kew. 1: 221.; Compton, J. A. & Jury, S. L. 1997. Taxon. 46: 555.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: climax, mesic, presence, shrubs, vine

Red baneberry grows best on cool, moist, nutrient-rich sites
[6,13,20,34,51,62].  Along the West Coast, these sites are moister and
richer than mesic and mesotrophic [62,77].  In the dense forest areas of
southeastern Alaska red baneberry grows on open streambanks and in
meadows [74].  In British Columbia it grows under spruce, spruce and
black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), or spruce, subalpine fir, and
aspen (Populus tremuloides) forests with black twinberry (Lonicera
involucrata), thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), bluejoint reedgrass
(Calamagrostis canadensis), and horsetails (Equisetum spp.) [36,62].  On
the west slope of the Rocky Mountains in Washington, it grows with
ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
in river canyons extending out into the grasslands [78].  In Oregon it
is identified as an indicator of moist sites with cold soil temperatures
[28,52].  In the South Umpqua River Basin of southwestern Oregon, it is
found only on such sites [52].  In Oregon it may also be found in
seepage, marshy, and other moist areas with red alder (Alnus rubra),
bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), vine maple (A. circinatum), and
sedges (Carex spp.) [4].  In the Siskiyou Mountains of Oregon and
California, it occurs at middle elevations, from 3,950 to 5,950 feet
(1,200-1,800 m) on diorite soils under relatively open stands dominated
by Douglas-fir and white fir (Abies concolor) [80].  It also extends to
high-elevation sites dominated by red fir (A. magnifica) [6].  It is
tolerant of low light intensity in the coastal redwood (Sequoia
sempervirens) region [77].

In the northern Rocky Mountains it is an understory species in moist and
very moist subalpine forests and riparian areas [8,26,64,71,76,83,84].
It appears to grow equally well on north and south exposures [55].  In
the Rocky Mountain subalpine fir forests of eastern Washington and Idaho
it is only found with the moist-site shrubs and herbs that Daubenmire
and Daubenmire [19] called the "Pachistima union" [28].  In Alberta it
grows under climax white spruce (Picea glauca) in valleys and lower
slopes [53].  Red baneberry is a dominant herb in very moist aspen
stands in the Black Hills [66].  In Utah it can be found in mountain
brush, willow-birch (Betula spp.), aspen, Douglas-fir, limber pine
(Pinus flexilis), subalpine fir, and Engelmann spruce (Picea
engelmannii) communities [79].  In the southern Rocky Mountains of New
Mexico, red baneberry grows in corkbark fir (A. lasiocarpa var
arizonica) and Engelmann spruce forests with Senecio sanguisorboides,
twinberry, wolf currant (Ribes wolfii), and gooseberry currant (R.
montigenum) [22].  Other plants frequently associated with it in the
Rocky Mountains include pachistima (Pachistima myrsinites), baldhip rose
(Rosa gymnocarpa), woods rose (R. woodsii), narrowleaf cottonwood
(Populus angustifolia), aspen, blue spruce (Picea pungens), grand fir
(Abies grandis), blue huckleberry (Vaccinium globulare), thinleaf alder
(Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia), willows (Salix spp.), redosier dogwood
(Cornus sericea), black twinberry, Drummond willow (Salix drummondiana),
sweetscented bedstraw (Galium triflorum), western meadowrue (Thalictrum
occidentale), starry solomon plume (Smilacina stellata), and mountain
bluebells (Mertensia ciliata).

In Minnesota baneberry (Actaea spp.) grows on a wide range of sites but
prefers partial to full shade and moderately moist, nutrient-rich soils
[9].  Red baneberry is not one of the most important herbs, but it is
scattered throughout red and white pine (Pinus resinosa and P. strobus)
forests and forests dominated by sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and other
hardwoods from Minnesota to New England [11,17,18,69].  In Wisconsin
where its range overlaps that of white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda), red
baneberry's presence is highest in boreal forest, while white baneberry
is more common in mesic, northern Wisconsin, mixed-hardwood forests
[15].  In the Saint Lawrence Valley it is normally restricted to climax
or near climax forest [16].  In northeastern Saskatchewan it is found
near lake and stream margins with willows, sedges, and reedgrass
(Calamagrostis spp.) [5].

In Colorado and Utah red baneberry's growth is fair to good on sandy
loam, loam and clay loam soils and poor to fair on gravel, sand, clay,
and dense clay [21].  Its growth is best on organic and acidic soils
that are at least 20 inches (51 cm) deep and poor on saline or sodic
soils [21].

Elevational ranges in some western regions are [13,21,37,57]:

                     Minimum                   Maximum
                   feet       meters         feet      meters

Alberta            1,650        500           4,900     1,500
California         sea level                 10,000     3,048
Colorado           7,000      2,134          11,500     3,505
Montana            4,500      1,372           6,600     2,012
New Mexico         8,000      2,438           9,500     2,896
Utah               4,500      1,372          10,000     3,048
Wyoming            4,500      1,372          12,300     3,750
  • 11.  Bormann, F. H.; Buell, M. F. 1964. Old-age stand of hemlock-northern        hardwood forest in central Vermont. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical        Club. 91(6): 451-465.  [8856]
  • 13.  Corns, I. G. W.; Annas, R. M. 1986. Field guide to forest ecosystems of        west-central Alberta. Edmonton, AB: Canadian Forestry Service, Northern        Forestry Centre. 251 p.  [8998]
  • 15.  Curtis, John T. 1959. The vegetation of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: The        University of Wisconsin Press. 657 p.  [7116]
  • 16.  Dansereau, Pierre. 1959. The principal plant associations of the Saint        Lawrence Valley. No. 75. Montreal, Canada: Contrib. Inst. Bot. Univ.        Montreal. 147 p.  [8925]
  • 17.  Daubenmire, Rexford F. 1936. The "big woods" of Minnesota: its        structure, and relation to climate, fire, and soils. Ecological        Monographs. 6(2): 233-268.  [2697]
  • 18.  Daubenmire, Rexford. 1978. Plant geography--with special reference to        North America. Physiological Ecology. New York: Academic Press. 338 p.        [8949]
  • 19.  Daubenmire, Rexford F.; Daubenmire, Jean B. 1968. Forest vegetation of        eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Technical Bulletin 60. Pullman,        WA: Washington State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 104 p.        [749]
  • 20.  Dayton, William A. 1960. Notes on western range forbs: Equisetaceae        through Fumariaceae. Agric. Handb. 161. Washington, DC: U.S. Department        of Agriculture, Forest Service. 254 p.  [767]
  • 21.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 22.  Dye, A. J.; Moir, W. H. 1977. Spruce-fir forest at its southern        distribution in the Rocky Mountains, New Mexico. American Midland        Naturalist. 97(1): 133-146.  [7476]
  • 26.  Fechner, Gilbert H. 1985. Silvical characteristics of blue spruce. Gen.        Tech. Rep. RM-117. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 19        p.  [7478]
  • 28.  Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon        and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range        Experiment Station. 417 p.  [961]
  • 34.  Hansen, H. L.; Krefting, L. W.; Kurmis, V. 1973. The forest of Isle        Royale in relation to fire history and wildlife. Tech. Bull. 294;        Forestry Series 13. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota,        Agricultural Experiment Station. 44 p.  [8120]
  • 36.  Harcombe, Andrew; Pendergast, Bruce; Petch, Bruce; Janz, Doug. 1983. Elk        Habitat management: Salmon River Valley. MOE Working Report 1. 83-05-10.        Victoria, BC: Ministry of the Environment. 83 p.  [9984]
  • 37.  Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2d ed.        Chicago: The Swallow Press Inc. 666 p.  [6851]
  • 4.  Aller, Alvin R. 1956. A taxonomic and ecological study of the flora of        Monument Peak, Oregon. American Midland Naturalist. 56(2): 454-472.        [6385]
  • 5.  Argus, George W. 1966. Botanical investigations in northeastern        Saskatchewan: the subarctic Patterson-Hasbala Lakes region. Canadian        Field-Naturalist. 80(3): 119-143.  [8406]
  • 51.  Mauk, Ronald L.; Henderson, Jan A. 1984. Coniferous forest habitat types        of northern Utah. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-170. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment        Station. 89 p.  [1553]
  • 52.  Minore, Don. 1972. A classification of forest environments in the South        Umpqua Basin. Res. Pap. PNW-129. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range        Experiment Station. 28 p.  [1660]
  • 53.  Moss, E. H. 1955. The vegetation of Alberta. Botanical Review. 21(9):        493-567.  [6878]
  • 55.  Mueggler, W. F. 1961. Ecology of seral shrub communities in the        cedar-hemlock zone of northern Idaho. Durham, NC: Duke University. 126        p. Thesis.  [9981]
  • 57.  Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA:        University of California Press. 1905 p.  [6155]
  • 6.  Atzet, Thomas. 1979. Description and classification of the forests of        the upper Illinois River drainage of southwestern Oregon. Corvallis, OR:        Oregon State University. 211 p. Dissertation.  [6452]
  • 62.  Pojar, J.; Trowbridge, R.; Coates, D. 1984. Ecosystem classification and        interpretation of the sub-boreal spruce zone, Prince Rupert Forest        Region, British Columbia. Land Management Report No. 17. Victoria, BC:        Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests. 319 p.  [6929]
  • 64.  Reed, John F. 1952. The vegetation of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park,        Wyoming. American Midland Naturalist. 48(3): 700-729.  [1949]
  • 66.  Severson, Kieth E.; Thilenius, John F. 1976. Classification of quaking        aspen stands in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains. Res. Pap.        RM-166. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 24 p.        [2111]
  • 69.  Stallard, Harvey. 1929. Secondary succession in the climax forest        formations of northern Minnesota. Ecology. 10(4): 476-547.  [3808]
  • 71.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1987. The grand fir/blue        huckleberry habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management.        Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-228. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 66 p.  [8133]
  • 74.  Taylor, R. F. 1932. The successional trend and its relation to        second-growth forests in southeastern Alaska. Ecology. 13(4): 381-391.        [10007]
  • 76.  Topik, Christopher; Hemstrom, Miles A., compilers. 1982. Guide to common        forest-zone plants: Willamette, Mt. Hood, and Siuslaw National Forests.        Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific        Northwest Region. 95 p.  [3234]
  • 77.  Waring, R. H.; Major, J. 1964. Some vegetation of the California coastal        redwood region in relation to gradients of moisture, nutrients, light,        and temperature. Ecological Monographs. 34: 167-215.  [8924]
  • 78.  Weaver, J. E. 1917. A study of the vegetation of southeastern Washington        and adjacent Idaho. Nebraska University Studies. 17(1): 1-133.  [7153]
  • 79.  Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry        C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo,        UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p.  [2944]
  • 8.  Baker, William L. 1989. Classification of the riparian vegetation of the        montane and subalpine zones in western Colorado. Great Basin Naturalist.        49(2): 214-228.  [7985]
  • 80.  Whittaker, R. H. 1960. Vegetation of the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon and        California. Ecological Monographs. 30(3): 279-338.  [6836]
  • 83.  Youngblood, Andrew P.; Padgett, Wayne G.; Winward, Alma H. 1985.        Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho - western        Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 78 p.  [2686]
  • 84.  Youngblood, Andrew P.; Padgett, Wayne G.; Winward, Alma H. 1985.        Riparian community type classification of northern Utah and adjacent        Idaho. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Region, Ecology and Classification Program. 104 p.        [Preliminary draft]
  • 9.  Bakuzis, E. V; Hansen, H. L. 1962. Ecographs of herb species of        Minnesota forest communities. Minnesota Forestry Notes. 118: 1-2.        [10317]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: mesic, presence

Presence of red baneberry frequently indicates moist sites [35,75].  In
British Columbia's subboreal spruce (Picea glauca x engelmannii) zone,
its presence may differentiate seral stages of the spruce/devil's club
(Oplopanax horridus) ecosystem from other seral, mesic spruce ecosystems
[33].  Publications listing red baneberry as an indicator or dominant
part of vegetation in community types (cts), habitat types (hts), plant
associations (pas), forest ecosystem associations (eas), or riparian
site types (rst) are listed below:

Coniferous forest habitat types of northern Utah [51].
Forest habitat types of eastern Idaho-western Wyoming [70].
Forest habitat types of Montana [60].
  • 33.  Hamilton, Evelyn H.; Yearsley, H. Karen. 1988. Vegetation development        after clearcutting and site preparation in the SBS zone. Economic and        Regional Development Agreement: FRDA Report 018. Victoria, BC: Canadian        Forestry Service, Pacific Forestry Centre; British Columbia Ministry of        Forests and Lands. 66 p.  [8760]
  • 35.  Hansen, Paul; Pfister, Robert; Boggs, Keith; [and others]
  • 51.  Mauk, Ronald L.; Henderson, Jan A. 1984. Coniferous forest habitat types        of northern Utah. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-170. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment        Station. 89 p.  [1553]
  • 60.  Pfister, Robert D.; Kovalchik, Bernard L.; Arno, Stephen F.; Presby,        Richard C. 1977. Forest habitat types of Montana. Gen. Tech. Rep.        INT-34. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 174 p.  [1878]
  • 70.  Steele, Robert; Cooper, Stephen V.; Ondov, David M.; [and others]
  • 75.  Topik, Christopher; Halverson, Nancy M.; Brockway, Dale G. 1986. Plant        association and management guide for the western hemlock zone: Gifford        Pichot National Forest. R6-ECOL-230A. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 132 p.  [2351]

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

     5  Balsam fir
    16  Aspen
    18  Paper birch
    21  Eastern white pine
    25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch
    26  Sugar maple - basswood
   107  White spruce
   204  Black spruce
   205  Mountain hemlock
   206  Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
   210  Interior Douglas-fir
   211  White fir
   212  Western larch
   213  Grand fir
   215  Western white pine
   216  Blue spruce
   217  Aspen
   219  Limber pine
   221  Red alder
   222  Black cottonwood - willow
   224  Western hemlock
   226  Coastal true fir - hemlock
   228  Western redcedar
   229  Pacific Douglas-fir
   230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock
   232  Redwood
   235  Cottonwood - willow

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

   K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest
   K003  Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest
   K005  Mixed conifer forest
   K006  Redwood forest
   K007  Red fir forest
   K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest
   K012  Douglas-fir forest
   K013  Cedar - hemlock - pine forest
   K014  Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest
   K015  Western spruce - fir forest
   K018  Pine - Douglas-fir forest
   K020  Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest
   K021  Southwestern spruce - fir forest
   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K106  Northern hardwoods
   K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES19  Aspen - birch
   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES22  Western white pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES25  Larch
   FRES26  Lodgepole pine
   FRES27  Redwood

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Mostly deciduous forests, also mixed coniferous forests, open pine or spruce woodlands, swales, stream banks, and swamps; 0-3500m.
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General Ecology

Plant Response to Fire

More info for the term: cover

During a study of early postfire recovery using the same plots over
time, red baneberry sprouted, grew vigorously, and produced fruit the
first year after fire.  However, no seedlings were observed during the
next 5 years [14,42].  Permanent plots were used to follow recovery
after the Sundance fire in northern Idaho [73]; here seedlings of red
baneberry were found in the fifteenth postfire growing season [Peter
Stickney, pers. comm. 1990].  In British Columbia's subboreal spruce
zone, cover of red baneberry increased in first year plots following
either fire or mechanical site preparation [33].  Following clearcutting
and burning in north-central Idaho, red baneberry had higher cover
values in first and third year plots [85].  A northern Idaho study found
little difference between red baneberry cover on undisturbed sites,
piled and burned sites, and sites with single or multiple broadcast
burns [56].
  • 14.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]
  • 33.  Hamilton, Evelyn H.; Yearsley, H. Karen. 1988. Vegetation development        after clearcutting and site preparation in the SBS zone. Economic and        Regional Development Agreement: FRDA Report 018. Victoria, BC: Canadian        Forestry Service, Pacific Forestry Centre; British Columbia Ministry of        Forests and Lands. 66 p.  [8760]
  • 42.  Keller, Marilyn Crane. 1980. Post-fire recovery within ravine forest        communities of Pattee Canyon, Missoula, Montana. Missoula, MT:        University of Montana. 136 p. Thesis.  [6725]
  • 56.  Mueggler, Walter F. 1965. Ecology of seral shrub communities in the        cedar-hemlock zone of northern Idaho. Ecological Monographs. 35:        165-185.  [4016]
  • 73.  Taylor, Alan R. 1964. Lightning damage to forest trees in Montana.        Weatherwise. 17(2): 60-65.  [7273]
  • 85.  Zamora, Benjamin Abel. 1975. Secondary succession on broadcast-burned        clearcuts of the Abies grandis - Pachistima myrsinites habitat type in        northcentral Idaho. Pullman, WA: Washington State University. 127 p.        Dissertation.  [5154]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Fire generally kills aboveground portions of red baneberry.  The caudex
appears to survive many fires, although information on the effects of
differing fire severities is lacking.

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: caudex, secondary colonizer

   Caudex, growing points in soil
   Secondary colonizer - off-site seed

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: caudex, frequency

Red baneberry is a perennial herb with a thick caudex that is buried in
the soil [14,42,85].  It frequently grows in moist microsites where fire
severity and frequency may be lower [14,42].
  • 14.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]
  • 42.  Keller, Marilyn Crane. 1980. Post-fire recovery within ravine forest        communities of Pattee Canyon, Missoula, Montana. Missoula, MT:        University of Montana. 136 p. Thesis.  [6725]
  • 85.  Zamora, Benjamin Abel. 1975. Secondary succession on broadcast-burned        clearcuts of the Abies grandis - Pachistima myrsinites habitat type in        northcentral Idaho. Pullman, WA: Washington State University. 127 p.        Dissertation.  [5154]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: cover, frequency, succession, tree

Facultative Seral Species

Throughout its range, red baneberry is found in both early seral and
mature forests [11,15,16,18,36,53,62,69,77].  Results of a study in
southwestern Oregon indicated that red baneberry cover was similar at
light levels ranging from full sunlight to less than 3.5 percent of full
sunlight [23].  In northern Idaho the amount of tree cover does not
appear to affect the frequency of red baneberry [55].  Red baneberry
plants generally are scattered so that changes in population size over
time are difficult to measure.  Results of a north-central Idaho study
in a grand fir/pachistima habitat type indicated that red baneberry had
higher cover values in early succession, although it was still present
in near-climax stands [85].
  • 11.  Bormann, F. H.; Buell, M. F. 1964. Old-age stand of hemlock-northern        hardwood forest in central Vermont. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical        Club. 91(6): 451-465.  [8856]
  • 15.  Curtis, John T. 1959. The vegetation of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: The        University of Wisconsin Press. 657 p.  [7116]
  • 16.  Dansereau, Pierre. 1959. The principal plant associations of the Saint        Lawrence Valley. No. 75. Montreal, Canada: Contrib. Inst. Bot. Univ.        Montreal. 147 p.  [8925]
  • 18.  Daubenmire, Rexford. 1978. Plant geography--with special reference to        North America. Physiological Ecology. New York: Academic Press. 338 p.        [8949]
  • 23.  Emmingham, W. H. 1972. Conifer growth and plant distribution under        different light environments in the Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern        Oregon. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 50 p. Thesis.  [9651]
  • 36.  Harcombe, Andrew; Pendergast, Bruce; Petch, Bruce; Janz, Doug. 1983. Elk        Habitat management: Salmon River Valley. MOE Working Report 1. 83-05-10.        Victoria, BC: Ministry of the Environment. 83 p.  [9984]
  • 53.  Moss, E. H. 1955. The vegetation of Alberta. Botanical Review. 21(9):        493-567.  [6878]
  • 55.  Mueggler, W. F. 1961. Ecology of seral shrub communities in the        cedar-hemlock zone of northern Idaho. Durham, NC: Duke University. 126        p. Thesis.  [9981]
  • 62.  Pojar, J.; Trowbridge, R.; Coates, D. 1984. Ecosystem classification and        interpretation of the sub-boreal spruce zone, Prince Rupert Forest        Region, British Columbia. Land Management Report No. 17. Victoria, BC:        Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests. 319 p.  [6929]
  • 69.  Stallard, Harvey. 1929. Secondary succession in the climax forest        formations of northern Minnesota. Ecology. 10(4): 476-547.  [3808]
  • 77.  Waring, R. H.; Major, J. 1964. Some vegetation of the California coastal        redwood region in relation to gradients of moisture, nutrients, light,        and temperature. Ecological Monographs. 34: 167-215.  [8924]
  • 85.  Zamora, Benjamin Abel. 1975. Secondary succession on broadcast-burned        clearcuts of the Abies grandis - Pachistima myrsinites habitat type in        northcentral Idaho. Pullman, WA: Washington State University. 127 p.        Dissertation.  [5154]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: geophyte

  
   Geophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: forb

Forb

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

Hamilton's Research Papers (Hamilton 2006a, Hamilton 2006b) provide
information on many plant species, including red baneberry, that
was not available when this species review was originally written.

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Regeneration Processes

The seed of red baneberry requires a dormant period and usually takes 2
years to germinate [86].  During a laboratory study of seed collected in
the fall, germination began 243 days following sowing.  Only 8.8 percent
of the seeds germinated; survival was 50 percent in the sun and 64.3
percent in the shade [61].  Seedling growth was good in both sun and
shade.  While survival was better in the shade, seedlings in the sun
were slightly larger and had more biomass allocated to roots [61].
Seedlings begin to bloom in their third year [86].

The fruit appears to be adapted to bird dispersal, although in the only
recent study of fruit use, insect and small mammal predation of seeds
was higher than use of the pulp by birds.  Fruit color did not seem to
be related to the amount of insect predation, fruit weight, number of
fruits per stem, or seeds per fruit; however, nocturnal use of white
fruit was higher [81].  Chipmunks may bury the seed [87].
  • 61.  Piper, Jon K. 1986. Germination and growth of bird-dispersed plants:        effects of seed size and light on seedling vigor and biomass allocation.        American Journal of Botany. 73(7): 959-965.  [5033]
  • 81.  Willson, M. F. 1983. Natural history of Actaea rubra: fruit dimorphism        and fruit/seed predation. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 110(3):        298-303.  [10320]
  • 86.  Aiken, George D. 1968. Pioneering with Wildflowers. Englewood Cliffs:        Prentice-Hall, Inc. 208 p.  [10577]
  • 87.  Sperka, Marie. 1973. Growing wildflowers: A gardener's guide. New York:        Harper & Row. 277 p.  [10578]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

In Minnesota forests, the leaves and flowers of red baneberry appear in
the first 3 weeks of the growing season, and the leaves begin to wither
and die by midsummer [17].  Across its range, red baneberry blooms from
May to July and fruits from August to October [27].  In Michigan,
flowering began between the May 20 and 30 and lasted 10 to 20 days.
Where red baneberry grows with white baneberry (A. pachypoda), it always
begins blooming 3 to 5 days earlier [59].  In New England flowering is
from May 9 to June 10 [67].  In northern Idaho flowering is from May to
July [58,76].  In Utah and North Dakota flowering begins in May and ends
by late June or early July, while in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming,
bloom begins in June and ends in August [21].
  • 17.  Daubenmire, Rexford F. 1936. The "big woods" of Minnesota: its        structure, and relation to climate, fire, and soils. Ecological        Monographs. 6(2): 233-268.  [2697]
  • 21.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 27.  Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections        supplied by R. C. Rollins]
  • 58.  Patterson, Patricia A.; Neiman, Kenneth E.; Tonn, Jonalea. 1985. Field        guide to forest plants of northern Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-180.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Research Station. 246 p.  [1839]
  • 59.  Pellmyr, Olle. 1985. The pollination biology of Actaea pachypoda and A.        rubra (including A. erythrocarpa) in northern Michigan and Finland.        Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 112(3): 265-273.  [10393]
  • 67.  Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed.        Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L.        Moldenke. 611 p.  [7604]
  • 76.  Topik, Christopher; Hemstrom, Miles A., compilers. 1982. Guide to common        forest-zone plants: Willamette, Mt. Hood, and Siuslaw National Forests.        Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific        Northwest Region. 95 p.  [3234]

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Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering spring-early summer.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Actaea rubra

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Actaea rubra

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: cover, presence

Red baneberry does not appear to compete seriously with young conifers
[62].  Following various logging treatments in northwestern Montana, red
baneberry's presence decreased, but it maintained or very slightly
increased its cover [29,30].  The limited information on the effects of
various treatments seems to indicate that mechanical site preparation
may uproot plants and decrease the cover of red baneberry [33,56].
  • 29.  Freedman, June D. 1983. The historical relationship between fire and        plant succession within the Swan Valley white-tailed deer winter range,        western Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 139 p.        Dissertation.  [6486]
  • 30.  Freedman, June D.; Habeck, James R. 1985. Fire, logging, and        white-tailed deer interrelationships in the Swan Valley, northwestern        Montana. In: Lotan, James E.; Brown, James K., compilers. Fire's effects        on wildlife habitat--symposium proceedings; 1984 March 21; Missoula, MT.        Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-186. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 23-35.  [8319]
  • 33.  Hamilton, Evelyn H.; Yearsley, H. Karen. 1988. Vegetation development        after clearcutting and site preparation in the SBS zone. Economic and        Regional Development Agreement: FRDA Report 018. Victoria, BC: Canadian        Forestry Service, Pacific Forestry Centre; British Columbia Ministry of        Forests and Lands. 66 p.  [8760]
  • 56.  Mueggler, Walter F. 1965. Ecology of seral shrub communities in the        cedar-hemlock zone of northern Idaho. Ecological Monographs. 35:        165-185.  [4016]
  • 62.  Pojar, J.; Trowbridge, R.; Coates, D. 1984. Ecosystem classification and        interpretation of the sub-boreal spruce zone, Prince Rupert Forest        Region, British Columbia. Land Management Report No. 17. Victoria, BC:        Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests. 319 p.  [6929]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Other uses and values

More info for the term: ferns

Red baneberry has attractive foliage and brilliantly beautiful berries.
The berries are unpalatable and can cause illness to people eating them
[7,37].  With due caution for its poisonous attributes, red baneberry is
easily grown in woodland gardens and very attractive when interspersed
with ferns [7,44,48,54].

Native Americans in Alberta and British Columbia used a weak decoction
made from the roots as a stimulant in treating colds, arthritis,
syphilis, rheumatism, and emaciation.  They also chewed leaves and put
them on boils and wounds to stimulate blood flow into the area [88].
  • 37.  Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2d ed.        Chicago: The Swallow Press Inc. 666 p.  [6851]
  • 44.  Kruckeberg, A. R. 1982. Gardening with native plants of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 252 p.  [9980]
  • 48.  Layser, Earle F. 1980. Flora of Pend Oreille County, Washington.        Pullman, WA: Washington State University, Cooperative Extension; 1980.        146 p.  [1427]
  • 54.  Moss, E. H. 1959. Flora of Alberta. Toronto: University of Toronto        Press. 546 p.  [8948]
  • 7.  Bacon, A. E. 1903. An experiment with the fruit of red baneberry.        Rhodora - Journal of the New England Botanical Club. 5(51): 77-79.        [10394]
  • 88.  Turner, N. J. 1984. Counter-irritant and other medicinal uses of plants        in Ranunculaceae by native peoples in British Columbia and neighbouring        areas. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 11: 181-201.  [10579]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the terms: caudex, rootstock

In some western states red baneberry is listed as having low to moderate
value for erosion control and revegetation potential, with moderate
biomass production [21].  Growth is listed as good on gentle slopes and
fair on moderate and steep slopes [21].  The plant is easily grown from
seed [44].  Stratification and a very moist seeding mixture are
necessary for germination [24,86].  The rootstock or caudex is easy to
transplant in the fall or spring when the plant is dormant [87].
  • 21.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 24.  Everett, Percy C. 1957. A summary of the culture of California plants at        the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden 1927-1950. Claremont, CA: The Rancho        Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 223 p.  [7191]
  • 44.  Kruckeberg, A. R. 1982. Gardening with native plants of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 252 p.  [9980]
  • 86.  Aiken, George D. 1968. Pioneering with Wildflowers. Englewood Cliffs:        Prentice-Hall, Inc. 208 p.  [10577]
  • 87.  Sperka, Marie. 1973. Growing wildflowers: A gardener's guide. New York:        Harper & Row. 277 p.  [10578]

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Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

Red baneberry provides fair cover for small nongame birds and mammals in
Utah but poor cover for upland game birds and big game mammals [21].
  • 21.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]

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Palatability

Palatability to elk in Montana and to mule deer in Utah is highest in
the fall [68,82].  Red baneberry has low palatability to domestic sheep
and cattle [71].  The relish and degree of use shown by livestock and
wildlife species for red baneberry in two western states is rated as
follows [21]:
                        CO         UT
     
Cattle                 poor       poor    
Sheep                  poor       fair    
Horses                 poor       poor    
Pronghorn              ----       poor    
Elk                    ----       fair    
Mule deer              ----       fair    
Small mammals          ----       fair    
Small nongame birds    ----       good    
Upland game birds      ----       fair    
Waterfowl              ----       poor    
  • 21.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 68.  Smith, Justin G. 1952. Food habits of mule deer in Utah. Journal of        Wildlife Management. 16(2): 148-154.  [2174]
  • 71.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1987. The grand fir/blue        huckleberry habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management.        Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-228. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 66 p.  [8133]
  • 82.  Young, Vernon A.; Robinette, W. Leslie. 1939. A study of the range        habits of elk on the Selway Game Preserve. Bull. No. 9. Moscow, ID:        University of Idaho, School of Forestry. 47 p.  [6831]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Red baneberry's overall importance to livestock and wildlife is low,
since it is not normally abundant.  In Montana, elk utilize red
baneberry foliage in the fall because it remains green after early
frosts.  Elk use in summer is more limited [46,82].  In Utah mule deer
use of red baneberry was moderate; it was eaten most frequently in the
fall [47,68].  White-tailed deer consume a moderate amount of red
baneberry.  Its value to pronghorn is poor [35].

Livestock use of red baneberry is low [21,71].  There are reports of
horses eating it in Montana and sheep eating it in Idaho.  However, it
is not normally grazed unless other forage is scarce [20].

Red baneberry fruit is consumed by several bird species including the
yellow-bellied sapsucker, American robin, wood thrush, gray-cheeked
thrush, brown thrasher, gray catbird, and grouse [50,81].  Some small
mammals also eat the berries including deer mice, white-footed mice, red
squirrel, eastern chipmunks, and red-backed voles [50,81].  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 [81].
  • 20.  Dayton, William A. 1960. Notes on western range forbs: Equisetaceae        through Fumariaceae. Agric. Handb. 161. Washington, DC: U.S. Department        of Agriculture, Forest Service. 254 p.  [767]
  • 21.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 35.  Hansen, Paul; Pfister, Robert; Boggs, Keith; [and others]
  • 46.  Kufeld, Roland C. 1973. Foods eaten by the Rocky Mountain elk. Journal        of Range Management. 26(2): 106-113.  [1385]
  • 47.  Kufeld, Roland C.; Wallmo, O. C.; Feddema, Charles. 1973. Foods of the        Rocky Mountain mule deer. Res. Pap. RM-111. Fort Collins, CO: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 31 p.  [1387]
  • 50.  Martin, Alexander C.; Zim, Herbert S.; Nelson, Arnold L. 1951. American        wildlife and plants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 500 p.        [4021]
  • 68.  Smith, Justin G. 1952. Food habits of mule deer in Utah. Journal of        Wildlife Management. 16(2): 148-154.  [2174]
  • 71.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1987. The grand fir/blue        huckleberry habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management.        Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-228. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 66 p.  [8133]
  • 81.  Willson, M. F. 1983. Natural history of Actaea rubra: fruit dimorphism        and fruit/seed predation. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 110(3):        298-303.  [10320]
  • 82.  Young, Vernon A.; Robinette, W. Leslie. 1939. A study of the range        habits of elk on the Selway Game Preserve. Bull. No. 9. Moscow, ID:        University of Idaho, School of Forestry. 47 p.  [6831]

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Nutritional Value

Red baneberry's energy and protein value are rated as poor [21].  Red
baneberry's name comes from a poisonous essential oil or glycoside
(protoanemonin) found in all parts of the plant but most concentrated in
the berries and root [43,72].  Symptoms of poisoning include
gastroenteritis, stomach cramps, headache, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea
and circulatory failure [72].
  • 21.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 43.  Kruckeberg, A. R. 1982. Gardening with native plants of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 252 p.  [9980]
  • 72.  Stephens, H. A. 1980. Poisonous plants of the central United States.        Lawrence, KS: The Regents Press of Kansas. 165 p.  [3803]

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Wikipedia

Actaea rubra

Actaea rubra (red baneberry, chinaberry, doll's eye) is a poisonous herbaceous flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to North America.

Description[edit]

These open woodland plants grow 40 cm (16 in) to 80 cm (31 in) tall.

The leaves are coarsely toothed with deeply lobed margins. Plants commonly have hairy veins on the undersides of the foliage. Each stem will have either three leaves that branch near the top, or will have three compound leaves and one upright flowering stalk from one point on the main central stem.

Plants produce one to a few ternately branched stems which bear clusters of flowers having 3 to 5 sepals that are petal-like and obovate in shape and remain after flowering. The petals are deciduous, falling away after flowering is done. They are clawed at the base and 2.5 mm to 4 mm long and spatulate to odovate in shape. Flowers have numerous stamens and they are white in color.

After flowering green berries are produced. The fruits are ellipsoid shaped berries containing several seeds.[1]

Seeds

In mid to late summer, the berries turn bright red or white (forma neglecta). The berries also have a black dot on them.

Distribution[edit]

They are found growing in shady areas with moist to wet soils, open forest or dry slopes. In Alaska it ranges from the Kenai Peninsula, through Kodiak Island, Bristol Bay, and up the Yukon River.

Ecology[edit]

Plants are slow growing and take a few years to grow large enough to flower. The western subspecies is ssp. arguta, and the northern subspecies is ssp. rubra.[2] These subspecies are not well differentiated, and in many locations, each grades in to the other over much of their ranges.[3] The foliage is rarely consumed by grazing animals.[4] The poisonous berries are harmless to birds, the plants' primary seed disperser.[5]

Uses[edit]

This plant is grown in shade gardens for its attractive berries and upright clump forming habit.[6]

Native Americans used the juice from the fruits of various baneberry species to poison arrows, and used the root as a herbal remedy for menstrual problems.

The root of this species has been used as a strong alternative to Black Cohosh, (Cimicifuga racemosa) for menstrual cramping and menopausal discomfort.

Toxicity[edit]

All parts of the plant are poisonous. However, accidental poisoning is not likely since the berries are extremely bitter.

The berries are the most toxic part of the plant. A healthy adult will experience poisoning from as few as six berries. Ingestion of the berries causes nausea, dizziness, increased pulse and severe gastrointestinal discomfort.[7][8] The toxins can also have an immediate sedative effect on the cardiac muscle tissue possibly leading to cardiac arrest if introduced into the bloodstream. As few as two berries may be fatal to a child.[8]

The fruits and foliage contain ranunculine,[9] and are often reported to contain protoanemonin.

All parts of the plant contain an irritant oil that is most concentrated within the roots and berries.

The roots contain β-sitosterol glucoside.[10]

There have been no reported cases of severe poisoning or deaths in North America, but children have been fatally poisoned by its European relative A. spicata,[11][12] It is claimed that poisoning is unlikely from eating the fruits of this species also.[13]

This plant closely resembles mountain sweetroot, (Osmorhiza chilensis), and can be confused with it; however, Red Baneberry lacks the strong anise-like "spicy celery" odor of mountain sweetroot.[14]

The following illustrates a non-fatal case of experimental self-intoxication produced by the ingestion of fruit from Actaea rubra. The onset of symptoms began within 30 minutes.

"At first there was a most extraordinary pyrotechnic display of blue objects of all sizes and tints, circular with irregular edges; as one became interested in the spots a heavy weight was lowered on the top of the head and remained there, while sharp pains shot through the temples.
Then suddenly the mind became confused and there was a total disability to recollect anything distinctly or arrange ideas with any coherency. On an attempt to talk, wrong names were given to objects, and although at the same time the mind knew mistakes were made in speech, the words seemed to utter themselves independently.
For a few minutes there was great dizziness, the body seeming to swing off into space, while the blue spots changed to dancing sparks of fire. The lips and throat became parched and the latter somewhat constricted; swallowing was rather difficult; there was intense burning in the stomach with gaseous eructations, followed by sharp colicky pains in the abdomen and also pain across the back over the kidneys. The pulse rose to 125, was irregular, wiry, tense; the heart fluttered most unpleasantly.
These symptoms lasted about an hour and were followed by a feeling of great weariness, but in three hours from the time of taking the dose all seemed to be again normal".[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gleason, H.A. 1978. The new Britton and Brown illustrated flora of the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Volumes 2. Hafner Press, New York. Page 158.
  2. ^ PLANTS Profile for Actaea rubra (red baneberry) | USDA PLANTS
  3. ^ Actaea rubra in Flora of North America @ efloras.org
  4. ^ Actaea rubra
  5. ^ Edible and Medicinal plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1
  6. ^ "Actaea rubra". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Gibbons, J. Whitfield, Robert Haynes, and Joab L. Thomas. 1990. Poisonous plants and venomous animals of Alabama and adjoining states. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
  8. ^ a b Ewing, Susan. The Great Alaska Nature Factbook. Portland: Alaska Northwest Books, 1996.
  9. ^ Duke, James A. 2001. Handbook of phytochemical constituents of GRAS herbs and other economic plants. Herbal reference library. Boca Raton: CRC Press. ISBN 0849338654 page 13.
  10. ^ Planta Med 2006; 72: 1350-1352
  11. ^ Knight, Anthony P., and Richard G. Walter. 2001. A guide to plant poisoning of animals in North America. Jackson, Wyo: Teton NewMedia. Page 85.
  12. ^ Turner, Nancy J., and Nancy J. Turner. 1997. Food plants of interior First Peoples. Royal British Columbia Museum handbook. Vancouver: UBC Press. Page 186.
  13. ^ Frohne, Dietrich, and Hans Jürgen Pfänder. 2005. Poisonous plants: a handbook for doctors, pharmacists, toxicologists, biologists, and veterinarians. London: Manson. Page 322.
  14. ^ doi:10.1055/s-2006-951696
  15. ^ Bacon, A.E. An Experiment with the fruit of red baneberry. Rhodora 5: 77(1903)
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Notes

Comments

The "eye" formed by the persistent stigma in Actaea rubra is smaller than that in A . pachypoda . 

 Actaea rubra is part of a circumboreal complex and is very similar to the black-fruited European species A . spicata Linnaeus, with which it is sometimes considered conspecific. The western North American plants of A . rubra have been called A . arguta and were distinguished on the basis of their smaller berries, more pubescent leaves, and narrow, more dissected leaflets. Those distinctions, however, are weak; specimens from the West often have fruits and leaves similar to those of plants from the East. A thorough study of A . spicata in the broad sense, on a worldwide scale, is needed to resolve the delimitation of taxa within this complex.

Plants with white fruit, sometimes distinguished as Actaea rubra forma neglecta (Gillman) H. Robinson, are frequent and are more common than the red-fruited form in many localities.

Native Americans used various preparations made from the roots of Actaea rubra medicinally to treat coughs and colds, sores, hemorrhages, stomachaches, syphilis, and emaciations; preparations from the entire plant as a purgative; and infusions from the stems to increase milk flow. It was also used in various ceremonies (D. E. Moerman 1986).

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Common Names

red baneberry
cohosh
red cohosh
necklaceweed
snakeberry
poison de couleuvre

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The currently accepted scientific name of red baneberry is Actaea rubra
(Aiton) Willd. [32,38,40,57,67]. In the past there has been
disagreement over how the closely related members of this genus should
be recognized. Within the species, two subspecies, ssp. arguta and ssp.
rubra, are sometimes defined [40]. Many authors do not consider
subspecies designation necessary [32,38,57,67]. Subspecies will not be
considered separately here.
  • 32.  Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains.        Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p.  [1603]
  • 38.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1964. Vascular plants of the        Pacific Northwest. Part 2: Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae. Seattle, WA:        University of Washington Press. 597 p.  [1166]
  • 40.  Kartesz, John T.; Kartesz, Rosemarie. 1980. A synonymized checklist of        the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume        II: The biota of North America. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North        Carolina Press; in confederation with Anne H. Lindsey and C. Richie        Bell, North Carolina Botanical Garden. 500 p.  [6954]
  • 57.  Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA:        University of California Press. 1905 p.  [6155]
  • 67.  Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed.        Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L.        Moldenke. 611 p.  [7604]

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