Stems: one to six feet high from a fascicle of short branching roots. Leaves: ternate, the divisions pinnate, with the lower ultimate leaflets sometimes again compound, ovate, sometimes obscurely three-lobed, toothed. Flowers: in oblong terminal racemes, sometimes divided towards the base, loose; petals oblong, obtuse. Fruit: berries red, oval, many-seeded.
The Red Baneberry is a perennial herb, not a shrub, and grows to the height of six feet, being a very large bushy plant. The foliage is abundant and coarsely veined, and the tiny flowers, which grow in oblong, close-set, terminal racemes, are feathery and delicate in appearance. This plant usually flourishes in the dense forest glades, where the dainty white blossoms and clusters of bright red berries adorning its slender stalks render it both attractive and conspicuous.
Actaea rubra forma neglecta, or White Baneberry, is . rather difficult to distinguish from the preceding species until the fruit ripens, when its berries will be found to be much larger than those of Actaea rubra, a pure, waxy, china-white tinged with purple at the end, and growing on long slender green pedicels; whereas those of the Red Baneberry are, as its name denotes, a bright scarlet. The leaves of the White Baneberry are more pointed and more deeply cut than those of its sister plant, the white petals are square at the ends, and the flowers grow in long-shaped clusters. This plant is the Actaea eburnea of Rydberg.
Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra)