Description from Flora of China
Herbs perennial. Rhizome robust, creeping, with numerous fibrous roots. Stems simple, erect. Basal leaves scaly; cauline leaves alternate, 2 or 3 × ternate, long petiolate. Inflorescence racemose, simple or branched. Flowers small, actinomorphic. Sepals usually 4, petaloid, white, caducous. Petals 1--6, spatulate, yellow, smaller than sepals, without a nectary. Stamens numerous; filaments narrowly linear-filarious; anthers yellowish white, ovate-orbicular. Carpels 1; ovary ellipsoid, glabrous, stigma sessile, compressed, 2-lobed. Fruit a berry, purple-black, red, or white when ripe, subglobose. Seeds several, ovate, brown or black.
In a recent phylogenetic study (Compton et al., Taxon 47: 593–634. 1998), Actaea was reclassified to include Cimicifuga and Souliea . However, for the present account, as in FRPS, the authors have maintained the three genera as distinct.
Further work is needed to determine the placement of Actaea taiwanensis J. Compton et al. (Taxon 47: 624. 1998; Cimicifuga taiwanensis (J. Compton et al.) Luferov).
About eight species: N temperate regions; two species in China.
(Authors: Li Liangqian; Michio Tamura)