Actaea pachypoda Elliot - White Baneberry


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Actaea pachypoda - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Ranunculaceae


Mesic woods


Frequently occurs with Acer saccharum


Most of the eastern half of the US


Perennial herb. Leaves alternate, compound, 2 or 3-pinnate, typically glabrous beneath. Flowers are white on stout pedicels. Fruits usually white with a dark spot in the middle, with the pedicels often turning pinkish as maturity.


Flowers late April to early June

Wetland Indicator: Upland

The white fruits with black centers give this plant the common name of "doll's eyes". Note the thick flowering stalks (pedicels) that are also evident when the plant is in fruit. It is called baneberry because the berries are toxic to humans, as is the foliage. See A. rubra for an idea of what the flowers would look like and note the difference in the thickness of pedicels (stalk supporting the flowers/fruit).

While the fruit is usually white it can occasionally be red. The last two images show a plant with red fruit and pedicels.


Foster, S. and R.A. Caras. 1994. A Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants: North America North of Mexico.

Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, NY. 244 pp.


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA




Michael Hough 2004