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HomeSurvivalFoodPoisonous Plants

Red Baneberry & White Baneberry

(Actaea rubra & Actaea pachypoda)

  

The berries from these two plants are very poisonous. As few as 5 or 6 of them can make you seriously ill. More can cause death. However, it is unlikely that you will eat very many if you are cautious, as they don't taste very good -- they are very acrid-tasting. Most cases of poisoning are with children.

White Baneberry is also known as "Doll's Eyes".

The following information has been taken from my Ontario Wildflowers website.

 

 

White Baneberry
(Actaea pachypoda)

 

The poisonous berries. This shows how the plants got it's alternate common name: Doll's Eyes.

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

 

Berries just starting to form.

 

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).

The berries are poisonous.

 

A photo of the whole plant.

Note the compound leaves, with toothed leaflets.

Red Baneberry 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.

 

Flowers. Note that the raceme is taller than wide. This is, generally speaking, true for White Baneberry.

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

 

 

Red Baneberry
(Actaea rubra)

 
Red Baneberry leaf: compound, with toothed leaflets.

The leaves of Red and White Baneberry are virtually identical.

 

Berries just starting to grow.

Note the thin stalks.

 

Mature berries. Note the glossy bright red colour.

The berries are poisonous.

 

Just to confuse identification of this plant, Red Baneberry berries are sometimes white!

The way to tell them apart from White Baneberry, is that Red Baneberry berries are on thin stalks and have a tiny dot at the end of each berry.

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

 

Flowers. Note that the flower raceme is generally as wide as it is tall.

White Baneberry flower racemes are generally taller than they are wide.