Montana Outdoors

July 29, 2017

Baneberry

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 9:19 pm

It fascinates me to see a plant in flower, then later to see its fruit. I probably should try to show this more often when I recognize both.

Baneberry

Baneberry ~ Actaea rubra: Photo taken on June 3.

Baneberry

Baneberry: Photo taken on July 20. (The fruit is most often red, but can also be white.)

While the blossom is very pretty and the fruit is quite attractive, all parts of this plant are highly poisonous. The common name “Baneberry” comes from the Anglo-Saxon “bana”, meaning “murderous”.

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40 Comments »

  1. I don’t know this plant at all. Maybe it’s just as well. I don’t think we have it around here.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — July 29, 2017 @ 9:51 pm

    • It’s one to be wary of. I seldom see it here, although it is considered quite common.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 29, 2017 @ 10:04 pm

  2. Still………a very attractive plant. Even the leaves are a lovely shape.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — July 29, 2017 @ 10:36 pm

  3. Baneberry is a suitable name.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — July 29, 2017 @ 10:42 pm

    • It is! I’ve only seen it a few times and haven’t heard much about it, but apparently it’s quite potent.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 30, 2017 @ 7:24 am

  4. We have this in our forests, but I don’t see it often. It is called “trollbær” in Norwegian, the berrries of the trolls.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by bentehaarstad — July 30, 2017 @ 5:34 am

  5. Great idea! I can’t always remember what the flower looked like when I see the fruit. Looks like you’ve also captured some spittlebug froth. I’m not sure if that’s the adult there, some of them look quite different.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Pat — July 30, 2017 @ 5:44 am

    • I see a lot of spittlebug froth this time of year. I understand that it does very little damage to the plants and it’s an interesting strategy for the bug. With the baneberry’s reputation, it’s probably a very safe place for the bugs, provided that they don’t eat any of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 30, 2017 @ 7:32 am

      • Yes! They do use some of it’s juice to create their spittle, but that doesn’t seem to bother either them or the plant. A thought on why the plant would be so poisonous, most poisonous plants evolve that way to keep from being eaten. What intrigues me is why only a few plants have gone that route and others haven’t.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Pat — July 30, 2017 @ 7:46 am

        • I guess somewhere in the evolution process a plant branches out and one or more branches prove successful and continue. It would be nice if we could see the whole “family tree”.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — July 30, 2017 @ 8:33 am

  6. Is the white foam among the berries somehow connected to the bug included in the picture?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by de Wets Wild — July 30, 2017 @ 10:11 am

  7. My pictures of it are never that good. Some people are allergic to it. I accidentally fell into it one time….Cortisone for months….Don’t play around with this flower. I never get those berries to look that good!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sharon Huff — July 30, 2017 @ 11:56 am

    • The poison of that plant must be very strong then. I don’t believe that I have handled it, and I will remember your experience. I have no allergies, not even to poison ivy or poison oak, but i’ll still be careful with this one.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — July 30, 2017 @ 7:14 pm

  8. That’s red baneberry. I wonder if you have white (Actaea pachypoda) as well. We have both but I never see the red ones produce fruit, only the white. Its berries are striking white with a black dot on each, which is why they’re called dolls eyes. Its flowers look much like those of the red baneberry.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — July 30, 2017 @ 2:41 pm

    • That’s really interesting. This species has either red or white and I have seen both colors (but not in the same area). The white ones I saw were in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness area on the trail to St Paul Lake and they had those black dots. I see that according to “USDA Plants”, pachypoda doesn’t get this far west.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 30, 2017 @ 7:22 pm

  9. It’s interesting that it has roughly the same shape as the death camas. Even the individual flowers are similar. The berries look ilke the artificial sprays we used to decorate Christmas packages back in the 1950s and 1960s. We told the kids not to eat those, either.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — July 30, 2017 @ 8:35 pm

    • It does look a little like the death camas. I hadn’t thought of that. With the camas, it’s the bulbs that are most poisonous but with this one it’s all parts of the plant.
      This must be the poisonous time of the year. A few minutes ago I went up the road to look at the smoke from a huge new fire that blew up this a afternoon about 30 miles southwest of here and saw a good sized rattlesnake just up from the house. I had no way to catch and move it and so I killed it. My dog and I had walked through there about an hour ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 30, 2017 @ 8:55 pm

      • I’ve been warned about rattlers and cottonmouths a few times in the past month or so. It’s the cottonmouths I worry about more than the rattlers. They don’t give warning, and they certainly like the same places I like: ditches and sloughs and such. I always wear boots, and on land I make sure to make some noise. I’ve scared up a few snakes, but they always speed off through the grass. They’re no more interested in me than I am in them.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by shoreacres — July 30, 2017 @ 9:06 pm

        • I’m not concerned about the rattlers for myself, but I don’t want my dog to be bitten and he’s always investigating everything along the road or trail. I will get the snake vaccination shots started for him tomorrow just in case.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — July 30, 2017 @ 9:10 pm

          • In the little AZ town where we often spend winter a visiting vet offers “rattlesnake avoidance” sessions for dogs. I always wondered how they did that. Some sort of shock therapy?

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by Sally — August 1, 2017 @ 10:15 am

            • I don’t know how they do that either. It would be hard to let the dog know to stay far enough away to be out of striking distance.

              Like

              Comment by montucky — August 1, 2017 @ 11:40 am

  10. The flower is gorgeous but yes, those berries look deadly. And do I notice cuckoo spit on the main stem?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Val — July 31, 2017 @ 9:02 am

    • I think it’s a very pretty plant, but watch out! That is froth from a spittle bug who doesn’t seem afraid to lay its eggs on such a poisonous plant.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — July 31, 2017 @ 9:17 am

      • There must be many creatures other than ourselves for which poisons that are deadly to us are harmless to them.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Val — July 31, 2017 @ 9:35 am

  11. Very impressive photos. I love both of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — August 1, 2017 @ 12:13 am

  12. A few baneberry plants grow in our woods but I don’t encounter them very often. There is also a single baneberry plant that lives in the shade of our lilac bush. Each year it produces flowers and gorgeous red berries. And each year something eats those berries. Hmmm …

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sally — August 1, 2017 @ 10:19 am

    • I very seldom see Baneberry here. I can recall only two places where I’ve seen it. There is probably some kind of creature that is not affected by the Baneberry’s poison. I think the spittle bug larvae might be one.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — August 1, 2017 @ 11:44 am

  13. That’s cool! I’d enjoy seeing both in future posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Juls — August 1, 2017 @ 7:17 pm

  14. I bet the birds leave these berries alone! Great shots …

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — August 2, 2017 @ 1:26 pm

  15. Beautiful bloom and vivid berries. You wonder how animals know what is poisonous…so many red berries look the same to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — August 3, 2017 @ 5:28 pm


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