*THIS PAGE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION. I WILL FINISH SOON…*
Mayapple, Ground Lemon, Hog Apple, Wild Mandrake, Indian Apple
Synonyms of Podophyllum peltatum: Anapodophyllum peltatum Moench, Podophyllum callicarpum Raf., Podophyllum montanum Raf.
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 4-21-20 when I am updating this page). It is a member of the Berberidaceae Family with a total of 13 genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made.
Te 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 better plant 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.
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 laves 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.
I need to go back and take more photos of the leaves of both fertile and infertile plants…
Solitary flowers are bractless, have 6-9 white petals without nectaries, 6 light green sepals, and 12-18 stamens.
Well, I had to get closer… Flowers are ONLY formed on 2-leaved plants between the two leaf stems. I took photos of that but they came out blurry… I will try again.
Then even closer… The fruits are ellipsioid berries that turn yellow when ripe. Although flowers are common that is not so for the berries. When ripe, the fruit is sweet and edible in small amounts with the seed removed, however… When not ripe the fruit is poison as is the entire plant. Human deaths have been reported. Even so, the plant has been used to treat parasites, syphilis, jaundice and other ailments.
SO, I need to go to the area where these plants are growing to take more 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky
NOTE: Plants of the World Online is the most up-to-date database. It is very hard for some to keep with name changes these days so you may find a few discrepancies between the websites. Just be patient. Hopefully, someday they will be in harmony. 🙂
*At one point, all the species in the genus were moved to other genera leaving only P. peltatum. However, that must have changed since Plants of the World Online lists 17 species in the genus. The Wikipedia page for this genus points that transfer out BUT they list The Plant List as a reference/source. The Plant List has not been maintained since 2013. World Flora Online and Plants of the World Online have basically taken The Plant List’s place. However, World Flora Online uploaded their information from The Plant List even though a large percentage of names have changed. They are supposed to upload “updated” data from World Flora Online but obviously, that hasn’t happened yet since they also list only one species in the genus… STILL.