The deeply cut, umbrella-like leaves of this common wildflower of woodlands grow to 12″ across, and are carried on upright stalks 12 to 18″ tall. This very tough plant spreads slowly to form a dense colony. It can make an excellent, handsome, long-lived, care-free groundcover, and is suitable for covering large areas. The leaves tend to go dormant in late summer, although dormancy is delayed if the plants do not lack for moisture. Mayapple thrives here in full sun, as long as the soil is moist, but it will tolerate drier soil and warmer climates better if it has some shade. The fruit, which looks like a small lemon and has a flavor reminiscent of tropical fruits, is edible when fully ripe in late summer. Fruit flavor is unusual, though agreeable, but the fruit is best eaten in small quantities. The fruit is a favorite food of box turtles and small rodents. Derivatives of Mayapple have shown promise in selectively killing cancer cells. All plant parts, except for ripe fruits, are poisonous if eaten. Exposure to sap can cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals.
Mayapple; Wild Lemon (podophyllum peltatum)
(Berberidaceae – barberry family)
Perennial • Ht 12-18″ • Zones 3-9
Native to Eastern and Central North America
Categories: Edible Fruit, Flowers, Natives, Perennials
Partial Shade, Shade, Sun
Zone 10, Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
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