Taisha is the author of this entry. She writes:
Today's photos of Paris quadrifolia, or herb paris, in habit and close up were taken by stevieiriswattii!@Flickr on May 14, 2013 (submitted via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). They were taken in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) region of Germany. Thank you for the images, steveiriswatti!
Paris quadrifolia of the Melanthiaceae is a perennial species found in shaded woodlands of Europe. Its range extends eastward to include western Asia, Siberia, and the Himalayas. In the last century, populations have been in decline in most western European countries due to the destruction of broad-leaved woodland. For a detailed account of the species see: Jacquemyn, H. et al.. 2008. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Paris quadrifolia L.. Journal of Ecology. 96:833-844.
Herb paris grows from a creeping rhizome. Plants have symmetrical leaves occurring in two pairs. Extending above the leaves is a single inconspicuous flower with green sepals and yellow petals. The eight bright yellow stamens are exserted upward, almost appearing protective of the purple-red ovary. After pollination, a many-seeded berry on a pedicel will develop, presented enticingly for the picking. However, it is not advised to consume the fruit, rhizomes, or any of the foliage, as herb paris is poisonous in just small doses.