This is one of those “Look but don’t eat” plants: Red baneberry (Actaea rubra) is a very beautiful woodland herbaceous perennial, but all parts of it are poisonous. As an interesting – and decidedly creepy – sidenote, one of its common names is “doll’s eye.”
This specimen was eyeballed (couldn’t resist!) at a campground in southern Alberta, but red baneberry has a fairly wide distribution in the province. It’s not a plant you’d find in a typical garden setting, however…although I suppose if you had a shady, moist spot, you could try it.
I don’t currently have any extremely toxic plants in my flower garden; I grew foxglove for a few years but haven’t tried any again since they died. My flowerbeds are on public property and it’s for the best that I don’t grow anything dangerous. Lately, I keep running into people who seem to think all plants are for the sampling – and it’s not just this lady and her young daughter that I wrote about last year. I recently talked to someone who seemed to think you could make tea out of any plant that smelled good, and another gardener who chewed on a mystery plant without having the foggiest notion what it was (she still doesn’t know, and neither do I, but apparently it tasted a little like sorrel. She didn’t report on whether or not she got a stomach ache). I’m delighted that everyone is so eager to chow down on fresh vegetative matter, but you’d think self-preservation would be more of a concern! :)
Do you grow any poisonous plants in your garden? Do you take any special precautions to keep them out of the reach of children and pets?