Podophyllum peltatumAlso known as May apple, hog apple, mayflower, Indian apple, umbrella plant, American mandrake, among other names. It is Podophyllum peltatum to the botanists. Each of these plants will produce a single flower, which blossoms underneath the umbrella of leaves. The plant also reproduces asexually, via rhizomes underground, which is why it is often found in carpet-like patches in the woods. It’s a woodlands ephemeral, emerging before most of the deciduous trees around it leaf out and hog the sun. It’s more or less poisonous, although the fruit can be tolerated in small amounts (not that you should be eating the park; there isn’t enough of it!); it’s this range of toxicity that has been exploited in Native American and folk medicine, since it can be used as an emetic, cathartic, and de-worming agent. Now, back to breakfast.

2 Responses to “Mayapple”

  1. 1 Diane LeBlanc April 22, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Had a husband who routinely ate the fruit in the Spring. No apparent ill effects.

  2. 2 paullamb April 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    “not that you should be eating the park”

    Always good advice.

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