Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: White Baneberry, White Cohosh, White Doll's Eyes
Actaea pachypoda

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Actaea (ak-TEE-uh) (Info)
Species: pachypoda (pak-ee-POD-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Actaea alba
Synonym:Cimicifuga pachypoda

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 11 photos.
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1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Equilibrium On Dec 8, 2004, Equilibrium wrote:

Wonderful herbaceous perennial species native to eastern North America. Truly a wonderful woodland plant that has toothy oval shaped leaves.

The seeds of this plant are quite toxic and oddly enough, they were commonly sewn in as eyes to rag dolls many years ago.

This plant has small white flowers that usually appear sometime in May. It generally has red fruit that lasts about a month maybe a little bit longer which adds some nice interest in the woodland landscape.

It likes moist soil but my experience has been that it can tolerate somewhat dryer conditions.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 16, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

All parts of the White Baneberry are poisonous. The berries are of particular concern since they are most likely to be eaten. Toxic effects include cramps, headaches, vomiting and dizziness, although no deaths have been reported in North America. The name Baneberry refers to the plant's toxicity, being derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for "murderous" - bana.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Centerbrook, Connecticut
Hinsdale, Illinois
Denmark, Maine
Holland, Massachusetts
Bellevue, Michigan
Big Rapids, Michigan
East Tawas, Michigan
Erie, Michigan
Munising, Michigan
Isle, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Munsonville, New Hampshire
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Canastota, New York
Voorheesville, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Glouster, Ohio
Olmsted Falls, Ohio
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania (2 reports)
Austin, Texas
Starksboro, Vermont
Leesburg, Virginia
Seattle, Washington

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