Definition of baneberry in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbānˌberē/ /ˈbeɪnˌbɛri/


  • 1A plant of the buttercup family that bears fluffy spikes of creamy-white flowers followed by shiny berries. Native to north temperate regions, it was formerly used in medicine.

    Genus Actaea, family Ranunculaceae: many species, including the North American white baneberry (A. pachypoda), with clusters of black-eyed white berries on red stalks

    ‘Common in the understory are chokecherry, beaked hazelnut, a wild rose, red baneberry, thimbleberry, and bracken.’
    • ‘In place of Aryan glory I'd grown patches of wiry baneberry thistles interspersed with industrial size brillo bathtub scrubbers.’
    • ‘Some of the rare plants to benefit from the Project will include limestone fern, baneberry, soloman's seal and rigid buckler fern.’
    • ‘In the meantime, our new wildflower collection now has some nice trillium and baneberries in progress.’
    • ‘We share pink delicious gum in our garden by puffs of pearl white baneberries near the gleaming stream.’
    • ‘Like all the other baneberries, the ferny leaves are a pleasure from spring to autumn.’
    • ‘European species have fatally poisoned children, but baneberries are not reported to have caused death to humans or livestock in the United States.’
    • ‘The distinguishing feature is the stalk of each flower - it is very slender in red baneberry, and thick in white baneberry.’
    • ‘Thus we find, in no particular order, periwinkles, gooseberries, baneberries, greater celandine, feverfew, and sempervivum.’
    • ‘If buttercups are child-like, and bugbanes are adults, the baneberries are the crazy in-laws.’
    • ‘Yellow lady's slipper, ram's head lady's slipper, asters, sedges, white and red baneberries, wild sarsaparilla, spotted touch-me-not, goldenrods and a variety of fern species are common species of the herb layer.’
    • ‘Avoid the lookalike baneberries that grow in forests, not bogs.’
    • ‘White and red baneberries, trillium, arisaemas… those Jack-in-the-pulpits kids love to open up and peer into, and hay scented, Christmas and maidenhair ferns… they had already staked their claim on the dry floor bed.’
    • ‘Groundlayer species are typical mesic woodland plants such as bedstraws, large-leaved aster, golden saxifrage (in springs), baneberries, miterworts, spring beauty, Canada mayflower, wild geranium, and violets.’
    • ‘He takes pleasure in the wild areas that seem secure for now, like the woodlot across the street where toothworts (Dentaria spp.), red baneberries and purple trilliums grow.’
    1. 1.1The bitter, typically poisonous berry of the baneberry plant.
      ‘Mountain ash will hold its berries all winter, but baneberries are falling, drops of lip-red venom in the moss.’
      • ‘But baneberries have some subtle but noticeable differences from the highbush cranberries.’
      • ‘Next you will add three baneberries; this is very important because if you don't, you will make the Draught of Unknown Desires, which will be effective for about an hour.’
      • ‘If you know about it or if you know how to buy baneberries (dried or powdered), kindly send information.’


Mid 18th century from bane in the sense ‘poison’ + berry.