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single stalk, no leaves, clump of berry-like bulbs

by Denise Pope
(Ventura, CA)

These mystery plants just appeared in my yard. They are about 1 foot tall, have no leaves and a straight thick stalk. At the top of each plant is a tight clump of berry-like objects. The "berries" are squishy and juicy. My boyfriend tasted one and claimed it tasted like a bell pepper. Please help in identifying! Thanks!

Denise Pope

Hi Denise, please don't let your boyfriend loose on unknown plants! Generally, any berries that are red that you don't recognize you should never eat.

I thought that this could possibly be 'baneberry' or Actaea rubra, which is very poisonous!

Looking more closely at your image, and the fact that it doesn't display leaves at the same time as the berries makes me unsure of this identification.

These are pretty distinctive berries, so maybe someone has more experience of it and will recognize it.

Don't eat it, anyway!


Comments for single stalk, no leaves, clump of berry-like bulbs

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Jul 28, 2012
it's an arum italicum
by: G.K. Lee

The plant is an arum italicum. The leaves die down and all you see is the cluster. I bought mine from a nursery catalog. The leaves are interesting.

Thanks for that, G. I've seen the leaves, which are gorgeous, all veined and quite beautiful. I've never seen the spike, quite amazing plant.

Aug 18, 2013
plant suddenly appeared
by: steven georgeAnonymous

I have the same single stalked plant with red berries, which I now guess are poisonous, not that I would be stupid enough to eat anything I dont know. It appeared quite by its self, I have two,both far apart, please tell me exactly what they are, they match the other persons photo, though mine are younger. Are they in fact poisonous?

Did you see the previous comment? The identity was Arum italicum.

You can see more here. As for poisonous, it seems to be more that it's got oxalic acid crystals can causes dermatitis, but that would go for eating them too; not recommended.

These are also noted as incredibly invasive in some areas. Consider yourself warned.

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