A poisonous herbaceous flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to North America.
These open woodland plants grow 40 to 80 cm (16 to 31 in) tall.
The leaves are coarsely toothed with deeply lobed margins. Plants commonly have hairy veins on the undersides of the foliage. Each stem will have either three leaves that branch near the top, or will have three compound leaves and one upright flowering stalk from one point on the main central stem.
Plants produce one to a few ternately branched stems which bear clusters of flowers having 3 to 5 sepals that are petal-like and obovate in shape and remain after flowering. The petals are deciduous, falling away after flowering is done. They are clawed at the base and 2.5 to 4 mm (0.10 to 0.16 in) long and spatulate to obovate in shape. Flowers have numerous stamens and they are white in color.
After flowering green berries are produced. The fruits are ellipsoid shaped berries containing several seeds. In mid to late summer, the berries turn bright red, or white in forma neglecta. The berries also have a black dot on them.