Definition of baneberry in English:



  • 1A plant of the buttercup family, which bears fluffy spikes of creamy-white flowers followed by shiny berries, found in north temperate regions.

    • ‘Common in the understory are chokecherry, beaked hazelnut, a wild rose, red baneberry, thimbleberry, and bracken.’
    • ‘Some of the rare plants to benefit from the Project will include limestone fern, baneberry, soloman's seal and rigid buckler fern.’
    • ‘In the meantime, our new wildflower collection now has some nice trillium and baneberries in progress.’
    • ‘If buttercups are child-like, and bugbanes are adults, the baneberries are the crazy in-laws.’
    • ‘Yellow lady's slipper, ram's head lady's slipper, asters, sedges, white and red baneberries, wild sarsaparilla, spotted touch-me-not, goldenrods and a variety of fern species are common species of the herb layer.’
    • ‘Like all the other baneberries, the ferny leaves are a pleasure from spring to autumn.’
    • ‘The distinguishing feature is the stalk of each flower - it is very slender in red baneberry, and thick in white baneberry.’
    • ‘He takes pleasure in the wild areas that seem secure for now, like the woodlot across the street where toothworts (Dentaria spp.), red baneberries and purple trilliums grow.’
    • ‘White and red baneberries, trillium, arisaemas… those Jack-in-the-pulpits kids love to open up and peer into, and hay scented, Christmas and maidenhair ferns… they had already staked their claim on the dry floor bed.’
    • ‘Thus we find, in no particular order, periwinkles, gooseberries, baneberries, greater celandine, feverfew, and sempervivum.’
    • ‘Avoid the lookalike baneberries that grow in forests, not bogs.’
    • ‘Groundlayer species are typical mesic woodland plants such as bedstraws, large-leaved aster, golden saxifrage (in springs), baneberries, miterworts, spring beauty, Canada mayflower, wild geranium, and violets.’
    • ‘In place of Aryan glory I'd grown patches of wiry baneberry thistles interspersed with industrial size brillo bathtub scrubbers.’
    • ‘We share pink delicious gum in our garden by puffs of pearl white baneberries near the gleaming stream.’
    • ‘European species have fatally poisoned children, but baneberries are not reported to have caused death to humans or livestock in the United States.’
    1. 1.1 The bitter, often poisonous, berry of the baneberry.
      • ‘Next you will add three baneberries; this is very important because if you don't, you will make the Draught of Unknown Desires, which will be effective for about an hour.’
      • ‘Mountain ash will hold its berries all winter, but baneberries are falling, drops of lip-red venom in the moss.’
      • ‘If you know about it or if you know how to buy baneberries (dried or powdered), kindly send information.’
      • ‘But baneberries have some subtle but noticeable differences from the highbush cranberries.’


Mid 18th century: from bane in the sense ‘poison’ + berry.