This plant is poisonous, especially the berries and roots. Many plants people use in their gardens are poisonous, such as yews, rhododendrons, golden chain tree, bleeding heart, delphiniums, even rhubarb leaves. The best way to keep people safe from poisonous plants is to teach them from and early age not to eat anything from the garden or wild with out your approval. The rule at my house was do not put any plant part (berries especially) in your mouth with out showing it to me first.
White doll's eyes or baneberry is wonderful in the garden. They emerge from the soil in the early spring and are usually in flower the 1st or 2nd week in May. The flowers are cream colored clusters of starry shaped petals. The red baneberry flowers 1st here in Springwater, New York. Then the berries form; Red Baneberry is in in berry in July; the White Baneberry is in berry in August. The berries persist for quite a while and are very attractive. The berries are held on bright red stalks.
The leaves are bright to dark green compound leaves similar to astilbe leaves. Both plants can attain a height of 30 - 32 inches, but they will stay shorter in poorer soils or heavy shade.
Birds such as ruffed grouse do eat the berries, but no mammals eat them because they are poisonous. The flowers contain no nectar but provide pollen to insects.
Baneberry is a great companion to Foam flower, Wild Ginger, Green and Gold, Bloodroot, Early Meadow Rue, Violets and Ferns.
Actaea pachypoda - White baneberry
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-Baneberry has very interesting attractive fruit, they are poisonous
-Very neat,dark green leaves
-The berries add color to the shade garden
-Creamy white flowers
-Height: 1 to 3 feet.
-Zone: 3 to 8