Monday, September 19, 2011

Look For It Now: White Baneberry

Ever been rambling through the woods alone and get a spooky feeling you're not alone? That somebody is watching you? Ever turn around and see hundreds of dolls' eyes staring back at you?

Sounds totally creepy, right? W
ell, don't think it can't happen to you! White baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) is now in its full berry glory, and these little white berries have conspicuous black spots (like pupils) that earned them the nickname "doll's eyes."

A member of the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family, white baneberry is in flower from May to June. It grows about 1-2 feet in height, produces toothed, compound leaves, and is topped with feathery white flower clusters that are taller than they are wide.

It is this time of year, however, when the white berries take center stage. Thick red stalks support each doll eye, making for a striking plant among the browning leaf litter. By the way,
don't indulge on these berries: they are poisonous, in fact, the whole plant is.

Many flowering plants and shrubs are now in berry form, and you'll find all sorts of plants sporting fruit. I included a few more below, all of which will redden in time. From top to bottom, they are Jack-in-the-pulpit, false Solomon's seal, and lily of the valley.

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