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Actaea spicata

Actaea spicata

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Ordo: Ranunculales

Familia: Ranunculaceae
Subfamilia: Ranunculoideae
Tribus: Cimicifugeae
Genus: Actaea
Sectio: Actaea sect. Actaea
Species: Actaea spicata

Actaea spicata L., Sp. Pl. 1: 504 (1753).

Christophoriana spicata (L.) Moench, Methodus: 276. 1794.
Actaea alba (L.) Mill., Gard. Dict., ed. 8. Actaea no. 2 (1768).
Actaea americana var. alba (L.) Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept. 2: 366 (1813).
Actaea brachypetala DC., Syst. Nat.: 385 [var. α]. (1817).
Actaea brachypetala DC., Syst. Nat.: 385 [var. β]. (1817).
Actaea brachypetala var. alba (L.) DC., Syst. Nat. 1: 385 (1817).
Actaea christophoriana Gouan, Fl. Monsp. 152 (1764).
Actaea corymbosa Stokes, Bot. Mat. Med. 3. 176 (1812).
Actaea longipes Spach, Hist. Nat. Vég. 7: 388 (1838).
Actaea nigra (L.) G.Gaertn., B.Mey. & Scherb., Oekon. Fl. Wetterau 2: 265 (1800).
Actaea racemosa Gilib., Fl. Lit. Inch. 2: 226. 1782, nom. illeg. non L. (1753).
Actaea spicata var. alba L., Sp. Pl. 1: 504 (1753).
Actaea spicata var. nigra L., Sp. Pl. 1: 504 (1753).
Christophoriana alba (L.) Nieuwl., Amer. Midl. Naturalist 3: 326 (1914).
Christophoriana vulgaris Rupr., Fl. Caucasi 44 (1869).

Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 504. Reference page.


Hassler, M. 2021. Actaea spicata. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2021 July 18. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Actaea spicata in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 July 18. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Actaea spicata. Published online. Accessed: 18 July 2021.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Actaea spicata in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 08-Apr-12.
Tela Botanica (ed.) 2000 onwards: Tela Botanica. Le réseau de la botanique francophone. eFlore. Actaea spicata. Association Tela Botanica, Montpellier, France. Accessed: 2009 Oct 05.
Global Biodiversity Information Facility. 2021. GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset. Taxon: Actaea spicata. Accessed: 2021 Jul 18.

Vernacular names
azərbaycanca: Sünbülvari qarğaotu
čeština: samorostlík klasnatý
Cymraeg: Llysiau Cristoffis
dansk: Sort Druemunke
Deutsch: Ähriges Christophskraut
English: Baneberry
español: Cimífuga
eesti: Salu-siumari
suomi: Mustakonnanmarja
français: Actée en épi
hornjoserbsce: Wšědna čornica
italiano: Barba di capra
қазақша: Масақты қарғашөп
lietuvių: Varpotoji juodžolė
latviešu: Vārpainā krauklene
Nederlands: Christoffelkruid
norsk nynorsk: Trollbær
norsk: Trollbær
polski: Czerniec gronkowy
română: Orbalț
русский: Воронец колосистый
slovenčina: Samorastlík klasnatý
svenska: Trolldruva
українська: Воронець колосистий

Actaea spicata, the baneberry[4] or herb Christopher,[5] is a species of flowering plant in the genus Actaea, native from Europe to western Siberia and northern Iran.[3] It is often found on limestone edges and in deciduous woodland; key factors are shade, low competition, and a cool, protected root run.[6]


Actaea spicata is a herbaceous perennial plant growing up to 65 cm (2 ft 2 in) tall. The basal leaves are large, biternate or bipinnate. The leaflets are more-or-less toothed. The flowers are white, with 3–6 petaloid sepals, and are produced in an erect raceme. The fruit is a berry, black when ripe and 10–13 mm (0.4–0.5 in) across.[7][8]
Ripe berries

Actaea spicata was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.[2] Two varieties have been recognized:[9]

Actaea spicata var. spicata. Europe, northwestern Asia.
Actaea spicata var. acuminata (syn. A. acuminata). Pakistan, India and the Himalayas, above 2000 m altitude.


Actaea spicata is cultivated as an ornamental plant. It is toxic by ingestion, and is also an irritant, so requires careful handling.[10] It has been used as a homeopathic remedy for arthritis and joint pain.[11]
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Actaea spicata.

Schweizer, F. & Hasinger, O (2021). "Actaea spicata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T202913A2757979.
"Actaea spicata L." International Plant Names Index (IPNI). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2021-02-22. Retrieved 2021-02-22.
"Actaea spicata L.", Plants of the World Online, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2021-03-26
BSBI List 2007 (xls), Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26, retrieved 2021-02-21
"Herb Christopher", Dictionary, retrieved 2021-02-22
"Actaea spicata | Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora". Retrieved 2021-03-26.
Stace, Clive A. (2019), New Flora of the British Isles (4th ed.), Middlewood Green, Suffolk: C & M Floristics, p. 106, ISBN 978-1-5272-2630-2
Tutin, T.G. (1993), "Actaea", in Tutin, T.G.; Heywood, V.H.; Burges, N.A.; Valentine, D.H.; Walters, S.M. & Webb, D.A. (eds.), Flora Europaea, Volume 1: Lycopodiaceae to Platanaceae (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 254, ISBN 0-521-41007-X
Riedl, Harald & Nasir, Yasin J., "Actaea spicata", Flora of Pakistan (online), retrieved 2021-02-22
"Actaea spicata". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 17 February 2021.

"DailyMed - ARTHRITIS AND JOINT RELIEF- actaea spicata, aesculus hippocastanum, arnica montana, bellis perennis, bryonia, calcarea carbonica, calcarea fluorica, causticum, cimicifuga racemosa, formicum acidum, hypericum perforatum, ledum palustre, lithium carbonicum, magnesia phosphorica, phytolacca decandra, pulsatilla, rhododendron chrysanthum, rhus toxicodendron, ruta graveolens, salicylicum acidum, sepia, zincum metallicum liquid". Retrieved 2021-03-26.

Flora Europaea: Actaea spicata
Nepal Checklist: Actaea spicata var. acuminata
"Actaea spicata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Plants for a Future: Actaea spicata
Edible and Medicinal plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1

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