Thursday, November 5, 2009
Ever get the feeling that someone is watching you? Actaea pachypoda, more commonly known as White Baneberries or "Doll's Eyes," grow wild in our area. The medium sized shrub produces tiny white berries which grow on the ends of pretty hot pink or red stalks. They do brighten the woods on a dark & stormy autumn day, but the berries (and the entire plant) are highly poisonous to humans.
The berries really do look like little eyeballs (see close-up above.) However, they contain cardiogenic toxins which can have an immediate sedative affect on human cardiac muscle tissue, and are the most poisonous part of the plant. Ingestion of the berries can lead to cardiac arrest and death. The berries are harmless to birds, the plant's primary seed dispersers.