Mayapple, Ground Lemon, Hog Apple, Wild Mandrake, Indian Apple
Synonyms of Podophyllum peltatum (8) (Updated on 3-16-21): Anapodophyllum peltatum Moench, Podophyllum callicarpum Raf., Podophyllum montanum Raf., Podophyllum peltatum var. annulare J.M.H.Shaw, Podophyllum peltatum f. aphyllum Plitt, Podophyllum peltatum f. biltmoreanum Steyerm., Podophyllum peltatum f. callicarpum (Raf.) J.M.H.Shaw, Podophyllum peltatum f. deamii Raymond
Podophyllum peltatum L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species. The genus and species were named as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online list 17 species in the Podophyllum genus (as of 3-16-21 when I last this page). It is a member of the plant family Berberidaceae with a total of 13 genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made.
The above distribution map for Podophyllum peltatum is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native. The map for North America on the USDA Plants Database is the same.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
The Podophyllum peltatum is a pretty common sight around the area I live in. It has several common names besides Mayapple including Ground Lemon, Hog Apple, Wild Mandrake, and Indian Apple. I heard many years ago when they start to flower is when the Morels start to come up. I find it strange this genus is in the Berberidaceae (Barberry) Family but I suppose there are reasons beyond my comprehension. I took these photos while I was mushroom hunting along a creek behind the farm.
Podophyllum peltatum is a herbaceous perennial plant found throughout the middle half of North America eastward. They are easily recognized by their large umbrella-like leaves and can form good-sized colonies via underground rhizomes.
In the past, all species of Podophyllym were transferred to other genera except Podophyllum peltatum. Plants of the World Online by Kew recognizes 17 species once again. I emailed the editor and he said he doubted the Podophyllum genus would change again. So, there are indeed 17 accepted species in the genus. The Wikipedia says the opposite but their references and sources are out of date. World Flora Online recognizes only one species because they uploaded out-of-date data from Plant List when they took it over. One of the references on the Wikipedia article is also The Plant List which hasn’t been maintained since 2013 and a lot has changed since then… The Plant List was GREAT, I will admit, but it should no longer be used for up-to-date scientific data. Plants of the World Online is currently the most up-to-date database for accepted scientific names and they are still working and continually making updates…
Plants typically grow up t 18” tall although I have not measured them myself. Interestingly, infertile plants produce only one leaf on a single stalk while fertile plants produce a pair of leaves on a forked stem.
Typically, leaves of both fertile and infertile plants grow to around 12” in diameter but they are somewhat different. Both have leaves with obovate-shaped lobes that can also vary somewhat… Infertile plants have leaves that are more orbicular in shape, fully peltate, and are deeply divided in 6-9 palmate lobes. The leaves or infertile plants have leaves that are less orbicular in outline, are marginally peltate, and have fewer lobes.
Solitary flowers are bractless, have 6-9 white petals without nectaries, 6 light green sepals, and 12-18 stamens.
The nodding flowers emerge in the fork on fertile plants between the petioles.
The white flowers have 6-9 petals, 6 green sepals, and 12-18 stamens with white filaments and yellow anthers with weird slits that look like small hot dog buns… The glabrous superior ovary, kind of egg-shaped, is topped off with a cluster of sessile stigmata. On some flowers, the stigmata were more open-like and on others, they looked more solid. The flowers are scented…
I should take notes while I am taking photos. This leaf has 8 lobes and I “think” it is from an infertile plant.
Well… I have to look around next time for flowers with their sepals still attached. Neither the sepals nor petals last all that long, but apparently, the sepals fall off first.
Well, the above photo is kind of blurry but it does show where the peduncle of the flower emerges in the fork between the two leaf petioles.
It is a strange and curious species…
I take a lot of photos I don’ really have anything new to say about…
Well, this is a bud… You can see from this photo the sepals are enclosing the flower on the inside…
This flower is a little older with the stigma on the end of the ovary that has started turning brown. The ovary is turning more green… Flowers are pollinated by bumblebees and other species of bees with long tongues. Seeds are dispersed through the feces of animals that feed on the fruit.
And we have a fruit… These plants produce a lot of flowers, but finding a fruit seems to be more difficult. When the fruit gets ripe they are edible. Otherwise, not only the fruit but the entire plant is poison… People have died from this plant but it has been used to treat a variety of ailments… I will not be trying the fruit or any other part of this plant for any reason. 🙂
The Podophyllum peltatum is a rhizomatous plant and can form large colonies. Most of the woods I visit have very large colonies. They make interesting plants for the woodland garden and can easily be transplanted.
So, in 2021, I need to go to the woods and take photos of both fertile and infertile leaves to show the difference. AND take a few notes so I will know which is which once I upload the photos. 🙂
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at email@example.com. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
ARKANSAS NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
FRIENDS OF THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date database and they make updates on a regular basis. We are all a work in progress. 🙂