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Mayapple



Classification:

Family: Berberidaceae
Genus species: Podophyllum peltatum

Leaves:
Leaves are large, 8 to 12 inches in diameter, with deep lobes, look like miniature umbrellas. Some plants produce one leaf. Other plants produce a pair of leaves.

Flowers:
Plants with pairs of leaves produce one white flower. The flower is large (about 1 inch in diameter) with six white petals and pale yellow reproductive parts. The flower droops underneath the pair of leaves.

Fruit:
Fruit or "apple" is about 2 inches long, turns yellow when ripe. Fruit is only produced when flower is cross-pollinated.

Roots:
Mayapple spreads by underground rhizomes, forms large colonies in forest understory.

Common Uses and Interesting Facts:
All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous. The fruit is edible in small quantities, but is poisonous if you eat too much.

More Information:

The common name, mayapple, is a misnomer because the flower is produced in May and the "apple" or fruit is produced later during the summer.   

The genus name, Podophyllum, is from the Latin for "foot-leaf," referring to the fact that the leaves look like webbed feet.  The species name, peltatum, is from the Latin for "peltate," referring to the fact that the petiole is attached to the lower surface of the leaf, not the edge of the leaf.  

 


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