Podophyllum peltatum L. (Mayapple)

Podophyllum, Mayapple, also known as American Mandrake and Wild Mandrake is an early summer favorite of mine. These shade-loving plants have been written about extensively with records going back to the 1600’s in North America.

Not sure how many other instances of there being only on plant in the genera, Podophyllum, but pelatum is the sole survivor after numerous other species were transferred out. The name Podophyllum is derived from the Greek words for “plant” and “foot” as it has been suggested that the leaves resemble Duck feet. The species name, peltatum, likely stems from the botanical term, peltate, which means the stem joins the leaf in the center, rather than an edge.

Another curiosity is that despite all part of the plants being poisonous, especially the rhizomes, that there are many known medical uses for the plant and others still other uses for certain cancers still being studied. Evidently, after the plant turns yellow it becomes edible. I suppose this gives further credence to the saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!”

Photo by Stewart V. Nelson, 2019, ©️ some rights reserved

Photo by Stewart V. Nelson, 2019, ©️ some rights reserved

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