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It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50 cm or more tall (1½ to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide). It has toothed, bipinnate compound leaves up to 40 cm long and 30 cm broad. The white flowers are produced in spring in a dense raceme about 10 cm long. Its most striking feature is its fruit, a 1 cm diameter white berry, whose size, shape, and black stigma scar give the species its other common name, "doll's eyes". The berries ripen over the summer, turning into a fruit that persists on the plant until frost. Fall foliage color may be yellowish, and is fairly unremarkable.
White baneberry prefers clay to coarse loamy upland soils, and are found in hardwood and mixed-forest stands.