Page authors: David Giblin, Don Knoke
Actaea rubra

Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east to the northern Great Plains, Great Lakes region, and northeastern North America.

Habitat: Moist woods and streambanks from low elevations to middle elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: April-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Sparsely pubescent perennial, the 1-several branched stems 4-10 dm. tall.


Leaves few, all cauline, 2- to 3- ternate and pinnatifid, the segments ovate, 3-9 cm. long, sharply toothed and lobed.


Flowers many, on naked peduncles, in axillary and terminal racemes on long, slender pedicles; sepals 3 to 5, whitish or purplish, oval, petaloid, 2-3 mm. long; petals white, narrow, about equal to the sepals; stamens numerous, exceeding the petals; pistil 1.


Fruit a red or white, ellipsoid berry, 5-11 mm. long, 1-celled and many-seeded.

Accepted Name:
Actaea rubra (Aiton) Willd.
Publication: Enum. Pl. 1: 561. 1809.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Actaea arguta Nutt.
Actaea eburnea Rydb.
Actaea neglecta Gillman
Actaea rubra Willd. f. neglecta (Gillman) Robins. [HC]
Actaea rubra (Aiton) Willd. ssp. arguta (Nutt.) Hultén
Actaea rubra (Aiton) Willd. var. dissecta Britton
Actaea spicata L. var. rubra Aiton
Actaea viridiflora Greene
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Actaea rubra in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Actaea rubra checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Actaea rubra information.

E-Flora BC: Actaea rubra atlas page.

CalPhotos: Actaea rubra photos.

USDA Plants: Actaea rubra information.

83 photographs:
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