White Baneberries

As we are arborists here at Q Gardens, you could say that our main focus in life and our main love are flowers. There are so many exotic and mystifying flowers, and some beautiful and more traditional flowers too. There are probably hundreds and if not hundreds then thousands of still unidentified flowers and plants in the world that are growing in the amazon rainforest or underwater that we have yet to know about. That is one of the truly magnificent things about the planet that we are living on. We never know when we will find a new flower or plant or animal that the world previously was not aware of. For now, we just want to discuss some of arborists more favoured greenery!

The world that we live on is home to nearly 300,000 plants that we are aware of, and there still could be many more than we have yet to know. One of those plants that are much more unusually is the Actaea Pachypoda, otherwise known as White Baneberry. These plants are native to North America and specifically, eastern Canada. Like most plants of its nature, it is found often in hardwood and forest standings.

The plant itself can grow 2 feet tall and can spread roughly 3 feet wide when they are grown, and they leave pods that are 40cm by 30cm. The name behind White Baneberries is quite simple, as the pods that grow from the plant itself is a fruit, which is a white berry. The berry itself have a black stigma scar within itself which also gives itself a more known nickname in “Doll’s Eyes”. The berries which grow from plant itself actually turn into a fruit that is able to continue ripening and stay alive until winter, since the frost kills off the berry itself.

Poison within the Plant

What is even more interesting about the berry itself however, is that both the plant and the berries that they grow are entirely poisonous to humans. The poison within the berries and the plant leave a sedative effect within the cardiac muscle tissue of humans, putting you into what is essentially almost a coma.

The poison is also incredibly potent, meaning that it will affect anyone that decides to eat it. The one type of animal however that remains unaffected by the toxins are birds, and they are able to eat the berries with no effect. Even more interesting about the plant is that the birds who eat the berries from the plant itself are the plants primary seed givers. Therefore, in evolution terms, the bird itself is allowed to eat the berries from the plant in exchange for the seeds that the birds give the plants back.

To add some more information into this extremely rare and interesting plant, is that it requires full shade and regular water with fantastic drainage around the roots to reproduce in its native habitat. This is contradictory to most plants which require sun and water moisture. The plant itself is red, and strikingly noticeable since it does not seem like a normal plant.

If you enjoyed yesterday’s blog posts about Thorns, or the previous blog post I made about Kew Gardens, then hopefully you’ve also enjoyed this post and any others I will be making soon!