Please Help Identify

jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)June 17, 2008

I live in NW Minnesota, on the prairie, but with a stand of trees behind my house. In this stand of trees I am sloowly removing invasive plants (buckthorn) and trying to establish native woodland plants. I came across this the other day, and have no idea what it is. At this point I only see the one plant.

This is growing in almost full shade, the soil here is heavy black clay with layers of leaf duff and is on the alkaline side.

The plant itself is only about 15" to 18" tall. I apologize for the blurry images, the breeze was blowing and these are the best I could get.

http://inlinethumb23.webshots.com/43670/2234969260091410488S425x425Q85.jpg

Side view

http://inlinethumb59.webshots.com/26810/2017895810091410488S425x425Q85.jpg

flower is about 1 1/2" diameter

http://inlinethumb13.webshots.com/39692/2389608130091410488S425x425Q85.jpg

view from top

Thank you

Jenny P

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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

Well I guess I don't know how to put in photos. I am going to try again here.

View from side, plant is about 15" to 18" tall

Flower is about 1 1/2" diameter

Veiw from above

Again I apologize for the blurry images.

Thank you
Jenny P

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:14PM
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rbrady(5/Eastern Ia)

It looks to me like Actaea pachypoda or "Doll's Eyes"

Rhonda

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:26PM
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arcy_gw

I have this plant, you will see now that you give it room it will get bigger and bushier, next year. The white flower will turn to red berries this fall. They are poisonous so the birds don't seem to eat them. After asking and looking, a few years ago, I decided it was Red Bane Berry. I transplanted many from the deeper woods into my garden beds. The more sun seemed to be good for them.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 8:25AM
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dbs_illinois_4(z4b Illinois)

Or the Red Baneberry, Actaea rubra. Either way, an absolutely wonderful plant. Also be on the lookout for Aralia racemosa, American Spikenard. If you don't have it growing naturally, try to find a source (that may not be easy). It grows large but stays graceful, has dark red stems, wonderful berries. You may be on the fringe of it's natuaral growing area.

BTW, when I was checking the USDA maps for Spikenard's range, I checked the Baneberries also, and it looks like the Doll's Eyes Baneberry doesn't occur naturally up in NW Minnesota, whereas the Red grows all the way up to Alaska. You'll find out for sure which one it is when the fruit comes.

Good luck with your woodland garden. The labor you put in will be well worth it. It's so wonderful to have a shady area at the height of the hot summers!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 8:44AM
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dbs_illinois_4(z4b Illinois)

Arcy's message wasn't there when I did mine! That's one reason I don't post very often, even on stuff I know (which isn't all that much!) Some else usually gets ther first and does all the work.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 8:49AM
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arcy_gw

Don't NOT chime in, the more the merrier. I am back to look up what this "Doll's Eyes" looked like and I see it is related to my bane berry. I guess you may have to wait and see what color the berries are to be sure. It has been one of my favorite woodland finds!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 9:17AM
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well_drained(z6a MA)

My guess is Actaea rubra, both from dbs's info about the USDA maps, and my guide books, which say that the flower cluster of red baneberry is about as wide as it is tall (like yours), while doll's eyes (Actaea pachypoda) has a cluster that is taller than it is wide.

The Actaea rubra fruit is one of the few things in my somewhat subdued woodland garden that actually gets gasps out of visitors when they come around the corner and see it - the red (fire engine red? lipstick red?) is actually shocking (in a good way).

Enjoy,

- wd

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 1:22PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

Oh thank you all for the answers, I think the red baneberry is it. I am so glad it is going to be a treasure in my garden!

Jenny P

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 4:00PM
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well_drained(z6a MA)

Here's mine from last year, right around this time.

- wd

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 12:12PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

Oh pretty! I am on the border of zone 3 and 4 so I most likely won't see the berries for a month or so! But I definatly will leave it! In fact I started a woodland garden with this as the main attraction. I didn't dig! I just popped in some soloman's seal, and Jack in the pulpit in the same area. This is not a garden anyone but me will see, or those I chose to show it too!

Jenny P

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 12:26PM
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mary4b(4b WI)

Hope your woodland project is going well. I wanted to tell you that the suggestion for American Spikenard (aralia racemosa) is great. I'm in Wisconsin, but my sister gave me her aralia from her woodland area just north of the Twin Cities...she was in zone 3, so that plant will do just great there for you. It's gorgeous. It looks like a shrub, but it's actually a large perennial and will die back each season.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aralia Racemosa Info

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 11:36PM
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