Bugbane — Actaea (baneberry or bugbane) is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Ranunculaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
The genus is closely related to Cimicifuga and Souliea, and many botanists include those genera within Actaea (e.g. Compton et al. 1998, Compton & Culham 2002, Gao et al. 2006, RHS Plant Finder, 2007) based on combined evidence from DNA sequence data, similarity in biochemical constituents and on morphology; if included, the number of species in Actaea rises to 25-30. Other botanists (e.g. Hoffman 1999, Wang et al. 1999, Lee & Park 2004) reject this merger because only one group (Actaea) have fleshy fruit while the remainder have dry fruit. The genus is treated here in its narrow sense, comprising four to eight species.