Western Red Baneberry
Actaea ruba Wild. ssp arguta Nutt
Located on the Lemhi River 13 Aug 1805. (Source)
The Western red baneberry is a branched, leafy perennial herb, 1-3 1/2 inches tall with coarsely toothed leaves divided 2-3 times in 3s. It has small, feathery-white flowers with 5-10 slender, 1/16-1/8 inch long petals, forming long stalked, rounded clusters from May to June. The fruits are glossy red or white berries 1/4-3/8 inch long. The baneberry grows in moist, shady foothills, mountains, and subalpine sites throughout the western states.
All parts of the baneberry are poison.
Value to Wildlife:
Red baneberry fruit is consumed by several bird species including the yellow-bellied sapsucker, American robin, wood thrush, gray-cheeked thrush, brown thrasher, gray catbird, and grouse. Some small mammals also eat the berries including deer mice, white-footed mice, red squirrel, eastern chipmunks, and redbacked voles. Several species of birds that use baneberry eat the fruit but void the seeds, while some of the small mammals remove and eat the seeds leaving the the pulp. (Source)
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