Poison lives under the lilac bush in my garden. Just one plant. In the shade, almost out of sight.
Although it has grown there for years it’s never spread further into my world so it’s easy to miss — until the berries ripen.
My baneberry produces glossy red berries though some plants produce white ones. Each berry ends in a noticeable black dot. Looking at white berries it’s easy to see where the nickname doll’s eyes originated.
Baneberry belongs to the buttercup family, along with tall larkspur, columbine and white watercrowfoot. And like several members of that family it’s extremely poisonous, especially the roots and berries.
That said, apparently it’s not so bad for some animals. The berries disappear off my solitary plant each year so something is eating them. Hopefully whoever dined on them didn’t die ruing their menu choice.
Red baneberry Actaea rubra