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Mayapple

Podophyllum peltatum L.

Mayapple
Figure 76.—Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
Other common names.—Mandrake, wild mandrake, American mandrake, wild lemon, ground lemon, hog apple, devil's apple, Indian apple, raccoon berry, duck's-foot, umbrella plant, vegetable calomel.

Habitat and range.—The mayapple is a native plant found in low woods, usually growing in patches, from western Quebec to Minnesota and south to Florida and Texas

Description.—A patch of mayapple is easily distinguished from afar by the smooth, dark-green foliage and the even stand, which makes it conspicuous in the woodland. It is an erect plant about 1 foot in height with only two leaves, which are circular in outline but with five to seven lobes, the latter being two cleft. The leaves, which are sometimes a foot in diameter, are borne on long leafstalks which are fixed to the center of the leaves, giving them an umbrella-like appearance. The waxy white flower, about 2 inches in diameter, is produced in May on a short stout stalk between the two leaves. The fruit which follows is about 2 inches in length, lemon shaped, green at first, then yellow.

Part used.—The rootstock, collected late in September or October.


Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update March 19, 1998 by aw