Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra)

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  1.   1.  Description
    1.   1.1  Growth
    2.   1.2  Obtainment
  2.   2.  Uses
    1.   2.1  Poison
    2.   2.2  Medicinal
  3.   3.  More
  4.   4.  'Souls
Common Name Red Baneberry, Chinaberry, Doll's Eye
Latin Name Actaea rubra
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1.  Description

These open woodland plants grow 40 cm (16 in) to 80 cm (31 in) tall. The leaves that 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. In mid to late summer, the berries turn bright red or white (forma neglecta). The berries also have a black dot on them.

1.1  Growth

They are found growing in shady areas with moist to wet soils, open forest or dry slopes. Plants are slow growing and take a few years to grow large enough to flower.

1.2  Obtainment

Common -- Native

2.  Uses

2.1  Poison

  • Native Americans used the juice from the fruits of various baneberry species to poison arrows. Accidental ingestion is unlikely as the berries are extremely bitter and unpalatable. 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. 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.

2.2  Medicinal

  • The root was used as a herbal remedy for menstrual problems. The root of this species has been used as a strong alternative to Black Cohosh, for menstrual cramping and menopausal discomfort.

3.  More

4.  'Souls

  • Hey, did your character do something cool with this plant?
  • Or maybe your pack has it for trade?

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