Dolls Eyes, White Baneberry


Hazard Information

Route: Ingestion     Plant Part: Berries

Scale: High

Immediate sedative effect on human cardiac muscle; leads to cardiac arrest and death.


Common Name(s)

Dolls Eyes



Latin Name

Actaea pachypoda




Herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50 cm or more tall (1-1/2 to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide). It has toothed, bipinnate compound leaves up to 40 cm long and 30 cm broad. The white flowers are produced in a dense raceme about 10 cm long. Its most striking feature is its fruit, a 1 cm diameter white berry, whose size, shape, and black stigma scar give the species its other common name, "doll's eyes". The berries fall color may be yellowish, and is fairly unremarkable.




The berries contain cardiogenic toxins which can have an immediate sedative effect on human cardiac muscle tissue, and are the most poisonous part of the plant.




Ingestion of the berries can lead to cardiac arrest and death. The berries are harmless to birds, the plant's primary seed dispersers.



Flowering Period

Flower during spring, berries produced in summer and persist until the presence of frost.



Native to North America, may be present in garden centres.