Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers rich, moist, humusy soils. Often forms large colonies in the wild. Will self-seed under optimum growing conditions. As with many of the early spring wildflowers, Mayapple goes dormant in summer.
Mayapple is a rhizomatous, native Missouri wildflower that occurs in both moist and dry woodland areas throughout the State. From a single stem, each plant grows 12-18" tall and features one or two, deeply-divided, palmately-lobed, umbrella-like, pale green leaves (to 12" diameter). Plants with only one leaf will not flower. From the crotch (leaf axil) on two-leafed plants, a single, nodding, waxy, 6-9-petaled, white flower (3" diameter) appears on a short, thin stem in early spring. Flowers are quite showy, but usually hidden by the umbrella-like leaves. Each flower gives way to an edible, fleshy, greenish fruit (mayapple) which turn golden when ripe and may be used to make preserves and jellies. Leaves and roots are poisonous, however.
No serious insect or disease problems.
Excellent for naturalizing in woodland settings, wild or native plant gardens. Because plants naturalize freely but go dormant in summer (foliage disappears), mayapple is not considered a good border plant.