An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Red and White Baneberry Fruits Maturing

8-16-18 red and white baneberry-1While the flowers of Red (Actaea rubra) and White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) are quite similar (the flower head of Red Baneberry is more globular than the elongated head of White Baneberry), their respective fruits, the color of which gave them their common names, quickly distinguish these two species from each other.

White Baneberry produces white fruits commonly called “Doll’s eyes” due to the persistent remains of the flower’s stigma, which leaves a black dot on each fruit.  Red Baneberry’s shiny red berries also have these black dots, though they are not as apparent. All parts of both species are poisonous, with the berries being the most toxic part of the plant.

Seed dispersal is carried out by animals that have enough tolerance to feed on the berries. These animals include various mice, squirrels, chipmunks and voles, as well as a wide variety of birds and White-tailed Deer.

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7 responses

  1. Red ones looks delicious.

    August 15, 2018 at 7:59 am

    • Their looks are deceptive! Not only are they poisonous, but supposedly very bitter (not sure who tasted them to find that out).

      August 15, 2018 at 8:53 am

      • Yeh thats interesting.

        August 15, 2018 at 9:33 am

  2. judilindsey

    Mary, I love how you make even a simple berry fascinating. Judi 🙂


    August 15, 2018 at 8:04 am

    • Alice Pratt

      Mary is quite talented! …she has a wonderful eye for the beauty in nature, that we all love!

      August 15, 2018 at 8:06 am

  3. Alice Pratt

    Pretty photos! I wonder why some animals can tolerate the poisons that humans can’t?

    August 15, 2018 at 8:04 am

  4. Bill on the hill

    Lovely images Mary… Even though you have covered these before, I appreciate your observations in the field as they occur throughout the year & no doubt this is the essence of what makes your Naturally Curious publications so popular.
    Bill Farr…

    August 16, 2018 at 7:37 am

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