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Mayapple
Berberidaceae
Podophyllum peltatum


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb



Berberidaceae Family

Podophyllum Genus
Other Names for this Plant

hogapple, Indian apple, mayflower, umbrella plant (shape of the leaves), wild lemon (flavor of the fruit), wild mandrake, American mandrake (shape of rhizomes) or "devil's apple"


Location

Eastern North America

Physical Description
The stems grow to 30-40 cm tall, with 2 or occasionally 3 palmately lobed leaves up to 20-30 cm diameter with 5-9 deeply cut lobes on reproductive individuals, or one peltate (umbrella-like) leaf on sterile individuals. The single secund white flower 3-5 cm diameter, with six (rarely up to nine) petals, is produced at the axil of the two leaves (the upper two in a three-leaved plant); the flower matures into a yellow-greenish fruit 2-5 cm long. The plant is widespread and appears in clonal colonies in open mesic woodlands. Individual shoots are often connected by systems of thick tubers and rhizomes. Plants are very commonly found infected by the rust Puccinia podophylli, appearing as honeycomb-patterned orange colonies under the leaves, and yellowish lesions on the upper surface


Compare Species
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Berberidaceae
Ranunculales
Ranunculales
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Medicinal Uses: The root is used as a medicinal herb, it is antibilious, cathartic, cytostatic, hydrogogue and purgative, it should only be used by professional Herbalists. It is a most powerful and useful alternative medicine.

The resin of May Apple, which is obtained from the root, is used in the treatment of warts.

Although too poisonous to use in home remedies this plant has many medical uses. Native Americans used the root as a strong laxative, to treat worms and for numerous other things. The root is currently used in cancer medications and may have commercial potential as a cultivated plant. There are accounts of the Indians use of the root to commit suicide with death occurring in just hours. The size of the lethal dose is unclear.

Food Uses: The fully ripe fruit is eaten raw, cooked or made into jams, jellies, marmalades, and pies. It is very aromatic, and has a sweet peculiar but agreeable flavor. May Apple seeds and rind are not edible, said to be poisonous

Other Notes: An infusion of the boiled leaves has been sprayed on potato plants to protect them from insects. Other reports suggest that it is insecticidal rather than repellent. The root ooze has been used to soak corn seed prior to planting it out in order to prevent it being eaten by crows or insects

May Apple was once called the witches umbrella and thought to be employed by them as a poison, which may not be untrue!

Warning: All parts except the fruit are TOXIC! Symptoms of toxicity are salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, excitement, headache, fever, coma.



Mayapple




Mayapple




Mayapple




Mayapple




Mayapple




Mayapple




Mayapple
Koehlers Medicinal-Plants 1887 [Image in Public Domain]

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