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Plant of the Week – Podophyllum peltatum

Plant of the Week! Podophyllum peltatum, Mayapple, is popping up in woodlands across the Midwest. The plants consist of either a single large umbrella-shaped leaf at the top of a two foot stem, or a branched stem with two leaves and a 2-3 inch showy flower in the leaf axil. Found in deciduous forests, Mayapples require at least partial shade to thrive. They grow well in moist soil rich with organic matter. Mayapples form large clonal colonies through rhizomes, and also spread through seed. Once the single flower is fertilized, it forms a small, lemon-shaped berry which is edible in small quantities when fully ripe. Unripe fruits and all other parts of the plant are toxic. Mayapples form an unusual and beautiful micro-canopy over the forest floor until mid-summer, when the plants go dormant.

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