Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry)
|Also known as:||Doll's-eyes|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; rich woods|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||18 to 30 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: none MW: FACU NCNE: UPL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A single round to cylindrical cluster about 1½ inches in diameter and 1½ to 3 inches long at the end of a long stem that rises above the leaves. Flowers are ¼ to ½ inch across with 4 to 10 narrow white petals and a spray of many long white stamens surrounding a short, thick white style in the center. Each flower is on a stout light green to white stalk 1/3 to ½ inch long, slightly swollen on the ends.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are 2 or 3 times compound, in groups of 3 or sometimes 5. Leaflets are up to 4 inches long, to 2 inches wide, stalked on the lower stem and typically stalkless near the flowers, usually hairless, edges sharply and coarsely toothed, sometimes cleft or lobed.
Fruit is a white berry about 1/3 inch long with the black stub of the style at the tip, and containing several seeds. The berries are rarely red. As fruit develops the cluster lengthens and flower stalks thicken more, turning pinkish, eventually turning bright red.
White Baneberry is not a rare species in Minnesota but not common, either, found primarily in rich woods along the eastern border of the state from the Arrowhead to the southeast corner of Houston County. It very closely resembles Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry) and can be hard to distinguish when not in fruit. Though both species may have red or white berries, Red Baneberry has slender green stalks on the flowers and fruit where White Baneberry has thick stalks, whitish on flowers turning red on the fruit. Red Baneberry also usually has hairy leaves where White Baneberry is usually hairless. White Baneberry was formerly known as Actaea alba.
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Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at Interstate State Park, Chisago County.
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