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Genus of the Week

Week of November 9-15

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This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes , a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.

This week's genus:


Actaea


Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Magnoliidae
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Helleboroideae (Carpels with +1 ovule)
Tribe: Helleboreae (Regular flowers)
Number of Species: At least 3
Root: From the Greek "acte", meaning "elder", a reference to the resemblance of the leaves and berries to those of the elder.

Plants in the genus Actaea usually have the common name Baneberry. The White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) is often referred to as "Doll's Eyes", a reference to the shape and color of the fruits. Another common name for the Baneberry is "Cohosh", but this is not to be confused with the genus Caulophyllum, also referred to as Cohosh. The fruits of the Baneberries are poisonous, as the name suggests, but plant extracts are sometimes used in homeopathic remedies.

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Actaea species:


References:

  1. Grieve, M. (C. F. Leyel, ed.). A Modern Herbal. London, Tiger Books International: 1973.
  2. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  3. Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.

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