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ACTAEA pachypoda

Image of Actaea pachypoda

Family

Ranunculaceae

Botanical Name

ACTAEA pachypoda

Plant Common Name

Doll's Eyes, White Baneberry

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Jagged leaves and an upright, red stem that carries tiny berries with black "eye dots" are the delightful ornamental features of the white baneberry. This herbaceous perennial is native to the deciduous woodlands of southeastern Canada and the United States east of the Great Plains. The root system is both fibrous and partially of rhizomes.

In spring the compound leaves emerge from the soil. A bright yellow-green when young, the leaf comprises several pointed oval leaflets with attractively jagged edges. Leaves mature more medium green by late spring. Also that time of year, a stout flower stem juts above the foliage and displays a cluster of fragrant creamy ivory flowers. After pollination, flowers develop into small white berries, each with one black dot, making a fruit look like a tiny doll's eye. The stem holding the fruits blushed rich red across the summer.

Grow white baneberry in dappled sun to bright indirect shade in an organic-rich, moist soil that mimics woodland soil. Non-alkaline loams are ideal. In cooler summer areas where soil moisture is even and constant, more sunlight is tolerated without ill effects. Use this charming forest wildflower as a groundcover or accent in a woodland border or shady garden border. Cultivar 'Misty Blue' produces white berries above powdery light bluish-green leaves. In the wild, botanists believe the white baneberry naturally hybridizes with the red baneberry (Actaea rubra) to create plants that produce pale pink fruits.

Native American used the fruits as a treatment for sore throats. Toxins exist in the berries, and should not be eaten.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 17

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    12"-30" / 30.5cm - 76.2cm (24)

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States, Texas, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    White, Black

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes