Authentic Wisconsin.  Mayapple - Podophyllum peltatum


Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 26, 2019.

Above: Mayapples in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond. (5/26/19).


Mayapple - Podophyllum peltatum (Spring Ephemeral)

Mayapples are a spring ephemeral emerging before the forest canopy closes. The woodland plants typically grow in colonies derived from a single root. The stems grow to 30–40 cm tall, with palmately lobed umbrella-like leaves up to 20–40 cm diameter with 3–9 shallowly to deeply cut lobes. It's a very unique plant that only produces a flower when it has two leaves. It does not produce a flower if the plant has only one leaf.

Though the common name is Mayapple, it is the flower that appears in May, not the "apple". The fruit or "apple" is produced in early summer and ripens (to a yellow) later in summer.

All the parts of the plant are poisonous, including the green fruit. Even the seeds are toxic. Only the ripened, yellow fruit is edible in moderate amounts, and the seeds MUST be removed. However, there have been many accounts of Mayapple poisoning so it's prudent to be cautious eatting it. Do not consume when pregnant.

Note: You should always consult a reputable field guide when foraging for edible wildflowers and plants to ensure proper identification and important preparation processes and precautions.

The Mayapple's flowering stems produce solitary flowers in the axil of the two leaves. The nodding, white to rose-colored flowers appear in April or May.

Mayapple contains podophyllotoxin that is highly toxic if consumed, but has been associated with folklore medicine (Native americans and early settlers used it for removing warts and also as a purgative). Etoposide is among the World Health Organisations's list of essential medicines and it is derived from podophyllotoxin. Nonetheless, the risk of toxicity is too high to recommend home use. See drugs.com.

The species is sometimes called "umbrella plant" or "duck's foot". The Greek name Podophyllummeans "foot leaf." This most likely originated from an earlier term for "duck-foot leaf" for the resemblance of the leaf to a duck's foot.

Other names include: American mandrake, wild mandrake, and ground lemon.

Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 26, 2019.

Above: Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 26, 2019.


For more information on Mayapple, visit Wikipedia.

Or, visit the UW-Madison Master Gardener Program website page about Mayapple.

Or, for information on Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) visit the: Wisconsin State Herbarium.


Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 23, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 23, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 23, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 23, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 23, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 26, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 25, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 25, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 25, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 30, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 30, 2020.
Mayapple blooms in wood between Duck Pond and Marion Dunn in Madison, Wisconsin on May 30, 2020.

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Wisconsin Wildflowers


Mayapple
Podophyllum peltatum


Mayapple on hill near Council Ring on April 23, 2019.


Above: Mayapple on hill near Council Ring in the Oak Savanna in Madison, Wisconsin. (4/23/19)


Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on April 23, 2019.


Above: Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond in Madison, Wisconsin. (4/23/19)


Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on April 30, 2019.


Above: Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond in Madison, Wisconsin. (4/30/19)


Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 2, 2019.


Above: Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond in Madison, Wisconsin. (5/02/19)


Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 24, 2019.

Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 24, 2019.

Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 24, 2019.

Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 24, 2019.

Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 24, 2019.


Above: Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond in Madison, Wisconsin. (5/24/19)


Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 26, 2019.

Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond on May 26, 2019.


Above: Mayapple in woods between Marion Dunn and Duck Pond in Madison, Wisconsin. (5/26/19)


Mayapples growing in Oak Savanna on May 3, 2020.


Above: Mayapples growing in Oak Savanna. (5/3/20)



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