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Herbaceous Perennial

Actaea spicata

baneberry

A. spicata is a clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with divided leaves up to 60cm long. From mid-spring to early summer it bears oval clusters of fluffy white flowers followed by black berries 1cm across

Synonyms
Actaea spicata 'Nigra'
Actaea nigra
see moreActaea spicata nigra

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring White Green
Summer White Green
Autumn Black
Winter
Position
  • Full shade
  • Partial shade
Aspect

West–facing or North–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Ranunculaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Toxic if ingested, contact may cause skin irritation. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Actaea are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials with compound leaves and small creamy-white flowers in short, erect, simple or branched terminal racemes, followed either by poisonous red, black or white berries, or by star-shaped clustered brown follicles

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe to W Asia

How to grow

Cultivation

Best grown in cool, moist, reasonably fertile soil in partial shade but will tolerate most soils if enriched with organic matter, and full shade, even under conifers if watered in very dry weather

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in pots in a cold frame in autumn or by division in early spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Low Maintenance
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
  • Banks and slopes
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Wall side borders
Pruning

Cut back after flowering or fruiting

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free

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