Index- plants in this Family
Ranunculaceae / Buttercups
White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)
White Baneberry is also known as Doll's Eyes.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 80cm in height (31inches).
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Each leaf is divided.
Flowers: The flower parts are not discernable with the naked eye and are up to 1cm wide (0.4 inches). They are white. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into late spring. Numerous filaments obscure the petals and sepals.
Fruit: Conspicuous white berries, sometimes red, in a terminal spike on thick pedicels. The shinny white berries have dark spots hence the vernacular name or Doll's Eyes. The name Bainberry refers to the fact that the attractive berries are poisonous.
Habitat: Rich woods.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

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The berries are very toxic and should never be eaten. Children should be warned not to eat these berries.

Medical Uses: Native Americans used a root tea for various problems including pain, colds and coughs. The Cherokee use it to revive a patient near death. The Chippewa used the same tea for convulsions. Warning! Contact with all parts of this plant should be avoided. The berries are known to be extremely toxic and all parts may be somewhat toxic and may even cause blisters on the skin where touched.

Similar Species: Red Baneberry (A. Rubra) is very similar and may sometimes have white berries (White Baneberry may have red berries). The flowers of Red Baneberry are in a more compact cluster and most distinctively the berries are on very thin pedicels where those of White Baneberry are thick.

See the links below this image for other images. (1)
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White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) - The very showy fruit.  © Daniel Reed

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves




Welcome / Glossary / Books / Links / Feedback / Image use policy - Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States, Page updated on 4/20/2009 9:58:23 AM. (Viewed date from local machine.)
© 1999-2009 Daniel W. Reed
File date-20-Apr-09