Doll’s Eyes

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 


2 thoughts on “Doll’s Eyes

  1. This is how it happens — you find something new, and suddenly it’s everywhere. I just heard of these for the first time this week, although the photo I saw was of the white berries. I must say, these look creepier than yours! I

    (More serendipity: I found this post because it was linked at the bottom of your current post!)


    1. Serendipitous indeed! We were pulling up the last of the garden peas today. I put some of the stakes under the lilac tree where my single baneberry plant has lived for many years. I noticed that most of the berries, though bedraggled looking, are still there. I thought this plant was one of the few around but I discovered several in our woods this summer, though only because the red berries caught my eye. I’ve no doubt wandered by the plants in the past without really noticing. (Got to keep those eyes open, girl!)


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s