ID'ing a few berries in my backyard

Let’s start with the ‘don’t eat that’. Is this a baneberry?

This looks like a wild currant? Ribes Triste?. Not that tall on the under canopy, doesn’t look like a squash berry.

And what is this guy? Berries are turning red.

Rose hips are starting to turn red. Underside is still green.

I think (could be wrong) that these are Bunch berries? Ground Dogwood? They have lost the central flower and have not put out berries yet:

I didn’t bother taking a picture of the wild raspberries. They are a bit tart, not that sweet, and have 0 shelf life; one overnight in the freezer and they become inedible.


Not sure what #1 is…

#2 is red currant…

#3 is called Dolls Eyes I believe.

#4 Rose hips

#5 leaves look like dogwood (as you said)


Your #1 does not look like the KY/TN baneberry…so I’m not certain just what it is.
#2 is a ribes of some type
#3 not positive…physocarpus maybe, or a viburnum or ribes.
#4 bunchberry dogwood I believe

@BlueBerry, I’m pretty certain #1 is the baneberry that grows around here, Actaea rubra. Yours are probably Actaea racemosa or Actaea Pachipoda? Long flowers and stalk of berries? I imagine many places call their poisonous berries baneberries.

@Chills, funny enough I looked up Dolls Eyes and it is showing me pictures of the white version of #1, a baneberry.

#3 still remains unidentified…



Here is what (White Baneberry)… also referred to as “Doll’s eye” looks like here in TN, during ginseng hunting season… Our season opens Sept 1. Easy to ID when the berries look like that (like dolls eyes).

Looks very similar to your #1… but another plant with medicinal value, cohosh (black / blue) looks very close to your #1 also.

Baneberry and Cohosh are companion plants for Ginseng… Maiden Hair Fern… is I think the best companion plant (or pointer, indicator) that Ginseng may be near by.

Almost all plants that are true indicators that Ginseng may be there… they are in a class called “Calcicoles” they preferentially grow in calcareous soils.

A Ginseng hunting tip… in my County and surrounding Counties… if you start at the head of a hollow and go down it… you often find a dry gravel creek run first, then water shows up as you go on down the hollow, then at some point that gravel creek, will turn to hard rock (slick rock bottom)… at that point you are hitting solid rock bottim in the creek, there will often be a drop in elevation, then a water fall, and more hard rock bottom creek going on down the hollow, and you will start seeing rock outcroppings above ground level.

Well that is it… That is what you are looking for… Ginseng will grow there, the soil there is high in calcium, and not only Ginseng shows up, but also Bainberry, Cohosh, Maiden Hair Fern, Jack in Pulpit, American Hog Peanut (gets tall and dense)… All those plants that really thrive in calcium rich soils really show their vigor there… And you find Ginseng.


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I think we are looking at kissing cousins of the same family. There is another one that has long flower and fruit tails and share the same toxic compounds. This is what the base of the ones here look like:

They are under canopy bushes so that may affect how they push growth out.

#3 looks like a viburnum to me…
Maybe Viburnum edule ?

Actually not that long ago I got some Viburnum edule from the wild. The growth is more runner vines on the ground that pops up into low bush. These are more straight and up from the ground branches. The leaves are more wrinkly if you will, less three-lobed.

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Yah, I am not sure the species, but the opposite leafs look viburnum to me


Somebody up here said they are high bush cranberry:

High bush cranberry. In early fall the bushes will get a very distinctive ‘stink’ to them, almost a wet dog smell (it’s not too strong or offensive) and the berries will turn red. Don’t pick the berries until after the first good hard overnight freeze, they are edible before that but they are extremely tart- the freeze makes them sweeten a little.

My wife boils them down, strains them and makes jelly with them (the seed are pretty numerous and large for the size of the berry). Its OK jelly by itself but I like it best mixed with raspberry.

which is good news because while there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot per bush, there are a ton of bushes under the forest canopy.

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