Friday, October 14, 2011

Actaea pachypoda

The doll's eye plant or bane-berry is an herbaceous perrenial woodland wildflower. It's two common names come from 1) the fact that these berries seriously look like doll's eyes, making them creepy enough to be avoided. Which is good because 2) they are incredibly poisonous and would most likely kill you.

The toxin is specifically one that slows the heart muscles. Enough of it, which could be in a single berry, can entirely stop the heart.

The plant flowers in spring and is actually quite attractive, despite the creepiness of the berries. The plants grow well in loamy soil and reach about hip height. This species can be found in most northeast US forests while another species, the red bane-berry, only grows in parts of Illinois.

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