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Actaea pachypoda

Actaea pachypoda Elliot

Actaea alba auct. non (L.) Mill.

White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderRanunculalesBasal (evolved earlier) eudicots, also called “true dicots”
FamilyRanunculaceaeButtercup family
GenusActaeaFrom ancient Greek, signifying a wet habitat and its leaves’ similarity to Sambucus leaves
Speciespachypoda“With a thick foot or stalk”

About plant names...

Baneberries are members of the buttercup family. They are natives of eastern North America, and live in wooded areas.

Identification: If it is the time of year for them, baneberries’ most distinguishing feature is, well, the berries. Relatively few plants produce white berries, and the small black or purplish dots at one end of each berry led to the common name “doll’s eyes.” The stalks supporting the berries are conspicuously colored (photo 6). If it isn’t the time of year for the berries, the sharp-toothed leaf clusters are fairly distinctive in shape. In addition to the red berries, red baneberries have rounder flower clusters, vs. the more cone-shaped cluster in white baneberries. On all of the baneberries, leaves often occur in groups of three, on thin stems, and are saw-toothed.

Some variants are compared below:

 

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

1 · 11/27/2009 · ME

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

2 · 8/18/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

 
Actaea pachypoda f. rubrocarpa
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Actaea pachypoda

Actaea rubra
Common Name

Doll’s-eyes

White Baneberry

Red Baneberry
Flowers Flowerheads of small white flowers are roughly oval in shape. Each flower is ¼" (6.3 mm) across. Flowerheads of small white flowers are roughly oval in shape. Each flower is ¼" (6.3 mm) across. Feathery flowerheads of small white flowers are roughly oval in shape. Each flower is ¼" (6.3 mm) across. Flowers have a roselike fragrance.
Fruit Red berries supported by pedicels that are ⅛" (3 mm) or more in thickness. Instead of the tomato red of red baneberry, these berries have a more luminous deep magenta color, becoming more purplish with time. White berries supported by red pedicels that are ⅛" (3 mm) or more in thickness. Berry tips have black-purple spot. Bright or dark red, oval berries are supported by pedicels that are less than ⅛" (3 mm) thick.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 3-8

Type Wild Wild Wild
Occurrence Rare Common Common

 

Edibility: Skull & Crossbones All parts of this plant are poisonous. As few as two of these very bitter berries may be fatal to children; a half dozen can cause cardiac arrest and bizarre neurological symptoms in an adult. The roots and leaves also contain several poisons that are dangerous when ingested and can cause skin blisters.

Online References:

Actaea pachypoda on Missouriplants.com

Actaea pachypoda at Illinois Wildflowers

Actaea pachypoda on Wikipedia

Actaea pachypoda at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Actaea pachypoda on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Actaea pachypoda on CalPhotos

Actaea pachypoda on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Actaea pachypoda on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Actaea pachypoda at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Actaea pachypoda on eFloras

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

3 · 8/14/2015 · Roost Trail, Grafton Notch State Park, Newry, Maine
≈ 7 × 4½" (16 × 11 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

4 · 8/6/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (28 × 18 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

5 · 7/23/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 7 × 6" (18 × 15 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

6 · Finding this in the woods—and puzzling over it on and off for the next six months—got me interested in wild plants in the first place. · 9/23/2007 · Near Mike & Ellen’s, Milford, PA
≈ 3 × 2" (7.9 × 5.3 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

7 · 10/2/2016 · By Kathleen Williamson

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

8 · 8/18/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

9 · Immature fruit · 7/3/2005 · Pepperell, MA

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

10 · 5/14/2012 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

11 · 8/6/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 15 cm)

Actaea pachypoda description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 May 2016.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

12 · 9/6/2010 · Henry E. Cowdrey Nature Center, Townsend, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

13 · 9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

14 · 8/16/2012 · Mt. Tom State Reservation, Beau Bridge Trail, Holyoke, MA
≈ 3 × 3" (8.3 × 7.7 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

15 · 8/18/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

16 · 5/14/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

17 · 5/14/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 7 × 6" (17 × 14 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

18 · 9/29/2016 · Henry E. Cowdrey Nature Center, Lunenberg, MA

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

19 · 5/14/2012 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

20 · 8/22/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 5" (14 × 12 cm)

Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes)

21 · These berries will ripen to white. · 7/23/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 6" (14 × 14 cm)

Range:

About this map...