Ontario Wildflowers website

White Baneberry
Actaea pachypoda

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) Other common names: Doll's Eyes

French names: Actée à gros pédicelles

Family: Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)

Group: Baneberries

Distinctive features: Shiny china-white berries with a large conspicuous dot on the end of each one. Compound leaf.

Similar species:
  •   Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra) - Berries usually red, sometimes white, with a tiny dot at the end of each one. Berries on thin stalks. Flower racemes about as tall as wide. Leaves more dissected.

Flowers: Summer;  White;  Indistinguishable parts (petals);  Small, white. In a cluster that is taller than it is wide. Spring.

Leaves: Compound, Toothed;  Alternate, compound, toothed. Less dissected than Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra).

Height: 30-60 cm (11-23 in)

Fruit/Seeds: China-white berries with a conspicuous black dot at the end of each one.

Habitat: Forests;  Forests.

Grows in Sun/Shade: Shade

Lifespan: Perennial.  

Uses: The berries are poisonous. As few as 5 or 6 of them can make you seriously ill. More can cause death.

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 424    Peterson's Field Guide to Wildflowers: 54    ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario: 350   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Photographs: 109 photographs available, of which 15 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

White Baneberry flowers. Note that the flower raceme is taller than wide. This is generally true for White Baneberry.

Red Baneberry flower racemes are generally as wide as they are tall.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

The poisonous berries. This shows how this plant got its alternate common name of Doll's Eyes.

Personally, I don't think there's much danger of anyone eating these berries - they're almost creepy looking.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

Closer view of the berries. Note the berries are on rather thick stalks.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

Unripe berries, not yet white.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

Mature berries. Note the conspicuous dot at the end of each one. This is unique. No other plant in Ontario has berries like this (except Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra)).

The berries are poisonous.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

Berries just starting to form.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

Flower buds in early spring.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

Flowers just starting to open.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

A fwe White Baneberry plants in the woods.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

A photo of the whole plant.

Note the compound leaves, with toothed leaflets.

Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra) berries are sometimes white, making identification of these two plants difficult for novices.

White Baneberry berries are held on thick stalks, and have a large conspicuous dot at the end of each one.

Red Baneberry berries are held on thin stalks and have a tiny dot at the end of each one.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

A view of White Baneberry leaves.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

White Baneberry stalk in winter.

Range map for White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)