Actaea L

Flowers nearly regular, small. Leaves chiefly radical, with distinct segments. Sepals 4, small, petal-like. Petals 4, small, clawed. Stamens numerous, with small anthers. Carpel solitary, becoming a berry when ripe.

A small genus, spread over the northern hemisphere.

Actaea Spicata L. Baneberry

Rootstock thick, blackish. Stem 1-2 feet high, glabrous, with 2 or 3 leaves in the upper part. Leaves large, thin, 2-3 ternate, with oval-acuminate leaflets, incised-dentate. Flowers white, small, in a short terminal raceme. Corolla regular, with 4 petaloid sepals, easily falling. Petals 4, almost invisible. Stigma sessile. Berry ovoid, green, and finally black and shining, with numerous seeds.

Damp, stony woods and steep, bushy declivities in sub-alpine districts up to 5000 feet. May to July. Poisonous.


Nearly all Europe from the Pyrenees to the Caucasus, and Norway, where it reaches the fir limit; Siberia, Himalaya. In Britain in the north.

Paeonia L. Paeony

Flowers solitary, red, regular. Petals numerous, very large. Sepals 5, green, herbaceous. Stamens numerous, inserted on a fleshy disc. Carpels 2-5, large. Leaves large, with distinct segments and chiefly radical.

A genus of very few species, indigenous in Southern Europe and temperate Asia.

Paeonia Peregrina Miller (P. Officinalis L)

Stem 1-2 feet high, simple, glabrous. Leaves 2-3 ternate, with rather narrow segments divided into 2-3 lobes, hairy underneath. Petals oboval, rose coloured, very large. Anthers shorter than the filaments. Follicles 2-3, glabrous or with tomentum, more or less divergent, and spreading at maturity.

Limestone woods and pastures of southern mountains, growing at from 3250 to 4200 feet on the mountains behind Mentone (Mog-gridge), and up to 6000 feet in the Ligurian Alps. Very local. May, June.


Provence, Languedoc, Roussillon up to the Hautes-Alpes and l'Aveyron; Southern Europe from Portugal to Greece. In Switzerland only in Canton Tessin (Generoso, etc.).

This Paeony can be planted in good moist loam at any time from October to March, and it requires much the same treatment as most of the Paeonies. The ground should be well trenched and manured if grown in quantity.