Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'
Common Name: may-apple 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Berberidaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Maroon red
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Fruit: Showy


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers rich, moist, acidic, humusy soils. Needs consistent and even moisture. Mayapple may go dormant in summer if soils are allowed to dry. Plants may spread by rhizomes over time. Reproduction by asexual propagation (tissue culture).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Podophyllum is a genus of about 9 species of herbaceous perennials from North America and the Himalayas to China and Japan.

Genus name comes from the Greek words pous or podos meaning a foot and phyllon meaning a leaf with reference to the shape of the leaf in the American species P. peltatum.

‘Spotty Dotty’ is rhizomatous perennial that is distinguished by its unusual spotted leaves. Plants typically grow 12-18" tall. Each plant bears a single stem crowned with one or two large, palmately-lobed (6-7 main lobes), umbrella-shaped leaves (to 12-16) which emerge chartreuse (yellowish-green) with brown spotting in spring but change to green with lighter spotting by summer. (Polygonate mottled green foliage becomes palmate as the plants mature.) One-leaved juvenile plants will not flower. From the crotch (leaf axil) on two leaved plants, a cluster of large nodding, star-shaped, maroon red flowers (each to 2" diameter) blooms in spring. Flowers are quite showy but hidden beneath the large leaves. Each flower may give way to a spherical fleshy green fruit (mayapple). Patent documents for this plant specify that plants are self-incompatible, but outcross should occur. U.S. Plant Patent PP17,361 was issued on January 16, 2007.


No serious insect or disease problems. Protect from spring frosts. Susceptible to root rot in poorly drained soils.


Sunny areas of borders, rock gardens, cottage gardens and open woodland areas.