A Patch of Mayapples

I’ve never seen so many Podophyllum peltatum fruits. This patch was up in the Finger Lakes region this past weekend.They aren’t quite ripe. When they are, they should smell “fruity” and weigh down the plants to the ground, according to Carol Gracie’s Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast. She also notes that an Asian Podophyllum species is harvested for cancer-fighting drugs — but not sustainably.Who eats this golfball-sized fruit? Turtles and deer. Whenever I see a wild fruit like this, I wonder if there were once other creatures who ate it, too.

2 Responses to “A Patch of Mayapples”


  1. 1 Paul Lamb August 17, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Did you read the YA novel A Light in the Forest? A boy captured by Native Americans is returned to his original family but doesn’t want that and attempts to eat a May apple to poison himself. (At least that’s what I remember from my eighth-grade reading.)

    • 2 mthew August 17, 2018 at 11:04 am

      Unfamiliar with it. Native Americans did use the fruits as emetics and whatnot. Some of these urban foragers eat them and live, unfortunately… um, just kidding, of course! I say leave them for the turtles.


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