Don’t Eat These Michigan Grown Baneberry ‘Doll’s Eyes’. They Can Kill You
I saw some baneberries on Facebook. They're the most interesting-looking berries. They look like marshmallow popsicles. And they're known as 'doll's eyes"; but more like Chuckie's doll eyes in the Child's Play movies. And, yes, they can kill you.
Looking further into this, it turns out there are red baneberries and white baneberries, but they're both poisonous. Very poisonous.
The way to tell them apart from White Baneberry is that Red Baneberry berries are on thin stalks and have a tiny dot at the end of each berry. White Baneberry berries are held on thick stalks and have a large conspicuous dot at the end of each berry.
Baneberries are from the buttercup family, don't "suck it up, buttercup." As one person commenting on Facebook said, "these plants are "Dolls eyes. Actaea pachypoda. Occurs throughout the state, quite common in deciduous Woodlands Of southern Michigan especially those on the richer side. In our garden in Ann Arbor, it is a relatively common wildflower. Pretty lacy flowers in bloom in May and then the spectacular fruits in August through October".
And another added: "The chemicals have an immediate sedating effect on the muscles of the human heart. Can be fatal." This follows what you find if you google baneberries, showing that several hundred years ago, these berries were used in medicine.
But reading this reminded me of when my own kids were young. You have to be very careful, because very young children, of course, will put about anything in their mouths.
(MyBackyardBirding via YouTube)