Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
doll’s-eyes Actaea pachypoda
Photo © 2019, River Valley Photographic Resources Ltd., rvprltd.com
Doll’s-eyes plants grow in rich woodlands statewide. A plant may reach about two feet in height. It develops from an underground stem. Leaves are produced at the base of the plant and along the stem. The leaves are compound. Blooming occurs from April through June. Small, white flowers develop in an elongated cluster at the stem tip. Fertilized flowers produce an ovoid, white berry on a red stalk. The berry has a single purple dot, giving the fruit the appearance of a toy doll’s eye. The flowers have no nectar. Some bees are attracted to the flowers for their pollen. A few bird species eat the berries.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.