May 18 2013
Last weekend at Slippery Rock Gorge I found spikes of white flowers surrounded by compound leaves.
On closer inspection I realized it was White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda), also called Dolls’ Eyes because of its unusual berries.
Here’s what they look like in the fall.
Don’t be fooled into eating the berries. The entire plant is poisonous to humans but amazingly has no effect on birds. Birds eat the fruit, perhaps attracted by the beautiful red stems and white berries with purple dots.
I’ll have to take the same hike this fall and look for berries.
(photos from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the images to see the originals)