Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Common names:
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 12 to 18"
Plant Spread: 9 to 12"
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Other: Dormant in summer.
Fruit: Showy
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Roots are poisonous

A lovely early spring wildflower

The All Things Plants Top 25 List of Shade Garden PlantsThe All Things Plants Top 25 List of Shade Garden Plants
May 3, 2014

Let's open Shade Gardens week with a list of the most active entries in our database. Among the thousands of plants that want full or mostly shade, which ones have the most pictures, comments and other details added? Let's find out!

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Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Sep 26, 2011 11:45 PM

The Mayapple was used by the Native Americans and very early herbalists as a medicinal plant, though not internally because the plant is toxic.

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Feb 9, 2012 7:14 AM

Mayapple is a common wildflower of good woodland soil throughout the eastern two-thirds of North America. In early spring, solitary stems poke up from the soil like thick fingers. These gradually lengthen and then unfurl exposing two 12" wide, umbrella-like, glossy green leaves, first drooping and protective, then held flat outright. Older plants will have a single large white nodding flower where the two leaf petioles fork. The flowers are hard to see beneath the leaves and are short-lived. Successful pollination results in red berries, which is the apple, in early summer. Then the plant heads back underground until next spring. But while it is up, mayapple will cover quite a bit of ground in time; it's leaves so dense and wide-spreading that it appears as a solid ground cover. (Sunlight Gardens)

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Posted by Catmint20906 (Maryland - Zone 7a) on Aug 25, 2014 6:06 AM

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is a woodland wildflower native to eastern North America. Its white blossoms serve as an important source of nectar for early-emerging bees in the springtime, and it is a larval host plant for the Variegated Fritillary Butterfly. Its flowers give way to a greenish fruit in the summer which can be used to make jellies and preserves. Mayapple spreads by both rhizomes and self-seeding and can form colonies when left to spread. The plant usually goes dormant by midsummer.

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Posted by mellielong (Lutz, Florida - Zone 9b) on Apr 10, 2015 3:45 PM

"How to Know the Wildflowers" (1922) by Mrs. William Starr Dana tells us that the flowers of this plant are "unpleasantly odoriferous". The author also notes that the fruit, which ripens in July, has been called "wild lemon" in some areas on account of its shape. She further states that it was valued by the Indians for medicinal purposes. However, she also states that the "leaves and roots are poisonous if taken internally, and are said to have been used as a pot herb, with fatal results." Still, she says an extract from the plant has been used in medicine.

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Plant Events from our members
aspenhill On May 7, 2016 Obtained plant
NGA David (greenthumb99) and Pat (ecnalg) - qty 4
aspenhill On May 9, 2015 Obtained plant
DG Ric and Holly (HollyAnnS) - qty 2
Chillybean On October 15, 2015 Obtained plant
Put most in the ground on the north side of house.
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