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     As Halloween approaches, photos of Doll's Eyes seem to be everywhere.  Apparently it has a haunting look with its white, black-spotted berries on bright red stems. Have you read Home Before Dark by Riley Sager? In it, the haunted Baneberry Hall is surrounded by -- you guessed it -- baneberries, which are in fact toxic and should not be consumed.


     All that aside, Doll's Eyes is a great shade-loving perennial with stark, white berries featuring a black spot (the eye) on bright red stalks often persisting until the first frost.


     In spring it features lovely clusters of fragrant, white blooms that curiously contain only pollen, no nectar.  According to Adirondacks Forever Wild, short-tongued bees collect the pollin to feed their larvae.  Wasps, flies and beetles also feed on the pollen.


     Ruffed Grouse, Robins and several other bird species consume the berries along with mice, moles and other small mammals.


     Doll's Eyes thrives best in dappled sunlight with moist, well drained soils.  It is long-lived, self-seeding and easy to care for.


Doll's Eyes/White Baneberry

1 Gallon
    • Latin: Actaea pachypoda
    • Pollinator value: High
    • Height: 1-3 feet high; 2-3 feet wide
    • Spacing: 18 inches
    • Light: Part to full shade
    • Soil: Moist, naturally in woodlands and thickets
    • Bloom: Creamy white spring
    • Foliage: Deciduous, gold fall
    • Landscape: Shade garden; pair with: Heart leaved foamflower, Columbine, Wild Ginger
    • Resistance: Deer and rabbits
    • More information and native range here
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