Actea kolosista – spiked raven

Actaea spicata; body of God, Adam’s rib, wolf berries, evil berries, monk; the Zhovtets family (Ranunculaceae); spike funnel


Beware POISON!

Most often, edible and inedible juicy fruits are colored red: strawberries, lingonberries, viburnum, red elderberry, and others. Black color occurs much less often: buckthorn, crow’s eye. Here is another plant with black berries – actea spike.

It is a herbaceous perennial with a multi-headed rhizome and an unpleasant smell. The stem of the plant is straight, branched, bare or slightly pubescent, up to 80 cm tall. The leaves are alternate, petiolate, two- or three-lobed. The flowers are small, white, in inflorescences — tassels, blooming in May-June. The fruit is an oblong juicy black berry that ripens in July-August. Aktea berries are extremely poisonous, you can’t eat them under any circumstances. In general, you should remember: never taste unfamiliar fruits and herbs! Specimens of the plant are usually quite rare and far from one from one This is explained by the fact that actea does not reproduce vegetatively – it does not produce shoots. The main dispersers of the plant’s seeds are birds, the only warm-blooded animals that eat the berries without harming themselves. Most often, you can see actea in Christmas trees, so be careful when collecting soursop — do not accidentally put an unfamiliar black berry in your mouth. On the territory of Ukraine, it grows in shady broad-leaved forests, on the slopes of river valleys, in forest areas of the forest-steppe zone and in the Carpathians, occasionally in Polissia.

It should be remembered that the plant is very poisonous, so any use of products from it must be agreed with a doctor – phytotherapist.

All parts of the plant contain alkaloids (they cause the toxic effect), the seeds contain fatty oil, and the leaves contain ascorbic acid. But in this case, it is better not to use the leaves as a source of vitamin C.

Sometimes the roots and leaves of the plant are used in homeopathy and folk medicine, but it is necessary to remember the toxic properties of actea, especially its fruits. When the sap of the plant gets on the skin, it causes the formation of blisters and even ulcers. In case of poisoning, it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital as soon as possible.

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