|Actaea subsp. var.||baneberry, bugbane|
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Actaea (ancient name of the elder, transferred by Linnaeus). Ranunculaceae. Actea. Baneberry. Cohobh. Native hardy herbacous perennials. Sometimes offered in collections of hardy border plants. Not to be confounded with blue cohosh, which is Caulophyllum.
Leaflets of the twice- or thrice-ter- nate lvs. ovate, sharply cleft, and cut- toothed: fls. small, white, in terminal aureum. racemes; sepals .4 or 5, falling early; petals 4-10, clawed; stamens many: fr. a many-seeded berry.
Acteas are grown chiefly for the showy spikes of small white flowers in spring, and handsome clusters of berries in autumn. Useful for rockery and wild garden, or for clumps and borders. They thrive in rich woods and shade.CH
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Propagation is by seeds sown in late fall to germinate the next spring or sown in springCH. Old seed is said not to germinate wellCH. A more satisfactory means of propagation is by root-division in springCH.
Pests and diseases
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The genus is closely related to Cimicifuga and Souliea, and many botanists include those genera within Actaea (e.g. Compton et al. 1998, Compton & Culham 2002, Gao et al. 2006, RHS Plant Finder, 2007) based on combined evidence from DNA sequence data, similarity in biochemical constituents and on morphology; if included, the number of species in Actaea rises to 25-30wp. Other botanists (e.g. Hoffman 1999, Wang et al. 1999, Lee & Park 2004) reject this merger because only one group (Actaea) have fleshy fruit while the remainder have dry fruitwp. The genus is treated here in its narrow sense, comprising four to eight specieswp.
- Selected specieswp
- Actaea alba
- Actaea asiatica
- Actaea pachypoda - White Baneberrysn, White Cohosh, Doll's Eyessn
- Actaea rubra (syn. Actaea erythrocarpa) - Red Baneberrysn
- Actaea spicata (syn. Actaea alba) - Baneberry, Herb Christopher
The name Actaea alba (L.) Mill. is a confused one (Fernald 1940); although described as an American species (now named A. pachypoda), the illustration on which the description was based was actually a picture of the European A. spicata, and strictly, the name is therefore a synonym of the European specieswp. Some texts however still treat A. pachypoda under this namewp.
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963