Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Actaea pachypoda

White baneberry, Dolls eyes

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Actaea pachypoda (White baneberry)
Makin, Julie
The branched stems, from 1-3 ft. tall bear two or three large compound leaves, each thrice divided. Leaflets are deeply saw-toothed. Above the foliage are dense, globular clusters of small white flowers. Fruit is an attractive but poisonous, white berry.

This plant is sometimes called Dolls Eyes because the shiny white fruits resemble the china eyes once used in dolls. A red-fruited form of this species is distinguished from the otherwise similar Red Baneberry (A. rubra) by its thick floral stalk.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit: White or red
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , VT , VA , WV , WI
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: P.E.I. to s. Man., s. to FL, LA & KS
Native Habitat: Deciduous woods & thickets

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Various well-drained, humus-rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Often found in association with Actaea rubra.


Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts, mainly berries and roots. Toxic if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include burning of mouth and throat, salivation, severe stomach cramps, headache, diarrhea, dizziness and hallucinations. Toxic Principle: Unknown, glycoside or essential oil, protoanemonin. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes

Last Update: 2012-04-12