Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda)

1 company sells this plant

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Doll's Eyes
Give a thumbs up Necklace Weed
Give a thumbs up Toadroot
Give a thumbs up Snakeroot

Botanical names:
Actaea pachypoda Accepted
Actaea pachypoda f. rubrocarpa Synonym
Actaea alba Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 1.5-2.5 feet
Plant Spread: 2-3 feet
Fruit: Showy
Other: Berry toxicity probably is the main reason why wildlife seems to ignore the fruit, with the berry clusters typically persisting on the plants and providing ornamental interest until frost.
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: White
Flower Time: Summer
Uses: Will Naturalize
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Roots are poisonous
Fruit is poisonous
Other: Berries are extremely poisonous if ingested, and consideration should be given to avoid planting this species in areas frequented by young children.

Image

Photo gallery:
Location: Northwest NJDate: 2017-07-21
By NJBob
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-09-20close-up of fruit cluster
By ILPARW
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Location: Burritts on the Mountain, Huntsville, Al.Date: June 26, 2014
By chickhill
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Image
By NJBob
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Date: 2003-07-27http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
By SongofJoy
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Date: 2005-04-20Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/
By SongofJoy
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Location: Credit: Robert E. Wright
By SongofJoy
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Credit: Robert E. Wright
By SongofJoy
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Image
By NJBob
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Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
By vic
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Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
By vic
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Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
By Joy
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Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
By Joy
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Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
By Joy
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Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
By Joy
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Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
By Joy
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Location: MississippiDate: 2015-04-04first leaves on seedlings
By kchd
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Location: MississippiDate: 2015-04-04Seedlings emerge after 2 years
By kchd
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Location: MississippiDate: 2013-08-25
By kchd
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2008-05-19plants in bloom along a fence
By ILPARW
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-09-20plants with fruit along fence
By ILPARW
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Comments:
Posted by BrendaVR (Ontario, Canada - Zone 6a) on Sep 13, 2014 1:26 PM

I agree that the pedicel color can be useful to identify between Red and White but keep in mind that the colour will be showing only when the berries are ripe. When you have flowers or unripe berries, look to the thickness of the pedicel: slender vs thick. White has thick chunky pedicels.

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Posted by NJBob (Vernon N.J. - Zone 6a) on Sep 27, 2011 12:23 PM

Interesting but highly toxic plant. All parts of plant toxic.

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 4:05 PM

Common throughout the eastern US in rich soil on north-facing wooded slopes and ravines, Doll's Eyes is best known when it is in fruit and displaying its white berries with dark spots resembling old porcelain doll's eyes. Plants grow about 2 feet tall and a little wider forming clumps of astilbe-like leaves. In late spring, small, puffy, fragrant, white flowers appear on stalks well above the foliage. These are later followed by the white berries, which incidentally, are very poisonous. Grow Doll's Eyes in good, organic, well drained soil in full to part shade. They will disappear and go dormant by early fall, sometimes earlier if it's been very hot. (Sunlight Gardens)

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Posted by eclayne (Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA - Zone 6a) on Jul 1, 2014 12:31 PM

Per the Flora of North America both plants can have red or white berries. The pedicel color appears to be a good way to differentiate between the two.

Actaea pachypoda:

Pedicel in fruit bright red, stout...berries white, very rarely red.

Actaea rubra:
Pedicel in fruit dull green or brown, slender...berries red or white.

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Posted by mellielong (Lutz, Florida - Zone 9b) on Apr 10, 2015 5:39 PM

"How to Know the Wildflowers" (1922) by Mrs. William Starr Dana has some interesting information on this plant. The author notes that it can be found alongside other plants like Columbine, Wild Ginger, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and Solomon's Seal as they seek "the same cool shaded nooks". The author further states that the berries "look strikingly like the china eyes that small children occasionally manage to gouge from their dolls' heads."

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Is this Red Baneberry? by JHeirloomSeeds Jun 3, 2019 11:08 AM 14
What else do we grow in 2019! Thread 2 by drdawg Jan 11, 2020 5:52 PM 1,238
recalcitrant and semi-recalcitrant* seeds by Leftwood Dec 3, 2019 6:57 AM 19
Can anyone identify this shrub please? by monstermash Sep 30, 2017 7:14 AM 3
2017 "Think Spring!!" Seed Swap CHAT by critterologist Feb 12, 2017 7:30 AM 73
This Was Supposed to be Doll's Eye by nativeplantlover Jun 28, 2016 12:04 PM 4
Shade plants you love by Lestv Dec 31, 2015 7:13 PM 12
Woodland plant by Swayback May 27, 2015 6:55 AM 8
Need correction? by chickhill Sep 23, 2014 9:43 PM 5
Add final answer ID requests by greene Jul 1, 2014 2:47 PM 5

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