Actaea Species, Doll's Eyes, Necklace Weed, Toadroot, Snakeroot

Actaea pachypoda

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

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds


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

Centerbrook, Connecticut

Cherry Valley, Illinois

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

Newport, 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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Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 6, 2016, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

One of my garden customers has a few of this species in part shade in moist, slightly acid soil. It is a handsome perennial and forest forb with its compound leaves, white fuzzy flower heads, and white fruit.. It can grow in neutral pH soils up to around pH 7.0. It is native to the eastern US and Canada.


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.


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.