|flowers and leaves|
The plant is native to eastern North America, in eastern Canada, and the Midwestern and Eastern United States. It prefers clay to coarse loamy upland soils, and is found in hardwood and mixed forest stands.
The white flowers are produced in spring in a dense raceme about 10 cm long. Its most striking feature is its fruit, a 1 cm (1⁄2 in) diameter white berry, whose size, shape, and black stigma scar give the species its other common name, "doll's eyes". The pedicels on which the berries grow are thicker than those of the related species, red baneberry (Actaea rubra). This is the reason for the species name pachypoda, which means "thick foot", from Ancient Greek παχύς pakhús "thick" and πούς poús "foot". The pedicels thicken and become bright red as the berries develop.
The berries ripen over the summer, turning into a fruit that persists on the plant until frost.
There are pink- and red-berried plants that have been called A. pachypoda forma rubrocarpa, but some of them produce infertile seed, and may actually be hybrids with Actaea rubra.
Both the berries and the entire plant are considered poisonous to humans. The berries contain cardiogenic toxins which can have an immediate sedative effect on human cardiac muscle tissue, and are the most poisonous part of the plant. Ingestion of the berries can lead to cardiac arrest and death.
The berries are harmless to birds, the plant's primary seed dispersers.
It requires part to full shade, rich loamy soil, and regular water with good drainage to reproduce its native habitat.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (January 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Tenaglia, Dan. "Actaea_pachypoda_page". Missouri Plants.
- Chayka, Katy; Dziuk, Peter (2016). "Actaea pachypoda (White Baneberry)". Minnesota Wildflowers.
- Ford, Bruce A. (1997). "Actaea pachypoda". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee. Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 3. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Actaea pachypoda". Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- Karen Legasy, Shayna LaBelle-Beadman and Brenda Chambers. Forest Plants of Northeastern Ontario. Lone Pine Publishing / Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1995.[page needed]
- Edible and Medicinal plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1[page needed]
- Ali, Zulfiqar; Khan, Shabana I.; Pawar, Rahul S.; Ferreira, Daneel; Khan, Ikhlas A. (2007). "9,19-Cyclolanostane Derivatives from the Roots of Actaea pachypoda". Journal of Natural Products. 70 (1): 107–10. doi:10.1021/np060152t. PMID 17253859.
- Pellmyr, Olle (1985). "The Pollination Biology of Actaea pachypoda and A. Rubra (Including A. Erythrocarpa) in Northern Michigan and Finland". Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 112 (3): 265–273. doi:10.2307/2996542. JSTOR 2996542.
- Nuntanakorn, Paiboon; Jiang, Bei; Yang, Hui; Cervantes-Cervantes, Miguel; Kronenberg, Fredi; Kennelly, Edward J. (2007). "Analysis of polyphenolic compounds and radical scavenging activity of four American Actaea species". Phytochemical Analysis. 18 (3): 219–28. doi:10.1002/pca.975. PMC 2981772. PMID 17500365.
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