Actaea rubra

4 Jun

Actaea rubra (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Actaea rubra (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Partial shade

Soil: Moist to boggy

Flowering period: Late spring to early summer

Eventual Height: 50cm

Eventual Spread: 5ocm

Hardiness: 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Ranunculaceae

Actaea rubra Flower (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Actaea rubra Flower (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Actaea rubra is a slow growing deciduous herbaceous perennial with a clump forming habit. Its mid green leaves are coarsely toothed with deeply lobed margins. Its white flowers appear as terminal axillary racemes. Its red fruit are ellipsoid berries, up to 11mm across and produced in autumn. Its roots are rhizomes.

The species Actaea rubra, commonly known as Snakeberry, Rattlesnake Herb, Black Cohosh, Baneberry, Chinaberry and Coralberry, is native to North America. In its native habitat it grow in moist to wet deciduous woodlands and deciduous woodland openings. This berries of this plant are toxic to humans.

The etymological root of the binomial name Actaea is derived from the Greek Actaia, which means Elder, as the leaves of this plant resembling those of this tree. Rubra is from the Latin meaning ‘red’.

Actaea rubra with Fruit (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Actaea rubra with Fruit (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Actaea rubra  useful as part of a woodland planting scheme or shady locations, particularly in damp locations, producing attractive flowers in spring and berries in autumn.

Ecologically, Actaea rubra is attractive to pollinating insects. Its berries are attractive to birds.

Actaea rubra Leaf (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Actaea rubra Leaf (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Actaea rubra prefers moist, fertile, well-drained to boggy soils. It prefers a neutral to acid pH of soil.

Actaea rubra requires little maintenance. Large clumps may be divided in early spring.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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No Responses to “Actaea rubra”

  1. Eliseo Cantellano 04/06/2013 at 14:50 #

    Reblogged this on Humedales artificiales.

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