#Biodiversity150 number 26 of 150 Red baneberry

26/150: Not-so-sweet temptation

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Ranunculales: Ranunculaceae: Helleboroideae: Actaea: Actaea rubra (Aiton Willd.)

While the fruit of the red baneberry (Actaea rubra) may be tempting to eat, doing so is highly ill-advised! The plant is highly toxic and consuming large quantities of the bright red fruit may alter the nervous system and, in rare cases, lead to death. This is especially a risk for small children who may see the berries as a tasty treat! However, the berries are extremely bitter and therefore a lethal dose would be difficult to achieve. The bright colour and high stalks of the fruit typically attract birds and other wildlife to feast upon them in order to disperse their seeds and help them populate more area. The red fruit can come in a white variety, which at first glance may resemble the white baneberry without the thick pink fruit stalks. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

The fruit of the red baneberry growing on thin stalks. Photo Credit: Terry Howes goo.gl/90cnL0
White alternative of the red baneberry. Photo Credit: Robert Strusievicz goo.gl/nlOjYu
Red baneberry in bloom. Photo Credit: Efren Ave goo.gl/Qe2b0B

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  RBG140-08

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Red baneberry

Title Image: Specimen RBG 088 – Halton County, Ontario – 27-Jun-2007
Photo Credit: University of Guelph BIO Herbarium, BIO Herbarium group, Steven Newmaster, Copyright 2009