Both the flower and the fruit of Baneberry are beautiful, from bright white clusters of flowers to the shiny red berries, though the berries also do come in white and are known as 'doll's eyes'. Because the leaves, roots and berries of this plant are extremely poisonous, its plant name is derived from the word for 'murderer' or 'destroyer'. As little as two berries is believed to cause cardiac arrest or paralysis. The plant was known to the Algonquin people as Black Cohosh and used to treat menstrual cramps, postpartum pain and menopausal anomalies. The Ojibwa people used different parts of the plant during different parts of the season to treat either females or males. The juice of the berries was often used as a poison on the tips of arrows. Occasionally the plant is consumed without apparent harm by animals such as deer, robins, mice and squirrels.
AIRdirondack Art Project