Description and General Information:
Actaea asiatica or Asian baneberry, is native to eastern China, Korea, Japan and far east Russia. It has ternately compound leaves and unbranched stems that reach 50-80 cm tall. The stems end in a dense 2.5-6 cm long raceme of small fluffy white flowers in May and June. When fruit ripen, the raceme elongates up to 17 cm long. Flowers develop into berries that are shiny black, held on contrasting bright red, thickened pedicels. The berries are toxic if ingested. Fall foliage turns bright yellow.
April in the south to July in the north.
This woodland species grows well in part sun to full shade, with organic-rich, humusy soil that does not get too dry. Hardy in zones 3-7.
Larger specimens may be dug and divided into smaller portions in the fall. Germination from seed is generally easy but seeds do require a stratification period of 8-12 weeks. Remove them from the fleshy fruit before sowing. In colder areas, simply sow the seeds in the fall for spring germination. It generally takes 3 years of so before seedlings will commence flowering.