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any plant of the small genus Actaea, north temperate perennials of the family Ranunculaceae (buttercupbuttercup
or crowfoot,
common name for the Ranunculaceae, a family of chiefly annual or perennial herbs of cool regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Thought to be one of the most primitive families of dicotyledenous plants, the Ranunculaceae typically have a simple
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 family) sometimes cultivated for the handsome (though poisonous) berrylike fruits. Native species, formerly used medicinally by both Native Americans and whites and also called cohosh, are the red baneberry (with a stalk of red berries) and the white baneberry (with a stalk of white berries). The plant is also one of several plants called herb Christopher, particularly the dark-fruited European species. The baneberry is similar to the related bugbane, one species of which is also called cohosh. Baneberry is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Ranunculales, family Ranunculaceae.