Mayapple – Identification
Q: Fifteen years ago I found several of these plants in the woods before everything was bulldozed to start a house. Over the years they have multiplied and are an ongoing source of pleasure for me every spring. I call them my “umbrella plants” and I especially love the single little flower that is tucked under the leaves, hiding. Can you identify it for me?
A: It’s mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum. The plant reproduces by underground rhizomes, which explains why it has multiplied so nicely. The “apple” fruit starts green in June and turns yellow in July. Despite its name, the fruit is not considered edible, though it has been used in small amounts as an herbal medicine.