Podophyllum peltatum f. deamii
Common Name: may-apple
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Berberidaceae
Native Range: Ontario and Quebec to Texas and Florida
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Purplish pink
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers rich, moist, humusy, acidic soils. May form 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Podophyllum peltatum, commonly called 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.

Forma deamii differs from the native species, Podophyllum peltatum, by the presence of the color purple in many of the plant parts: light purplish-pink flowers, wine-purple ovaries, maroon-purple fruit and purple-flecked stem and leaf stalks. Forma deamii is rare throughout its limited range of Pennsylvania to Missouri, and appears to be limited in Missouri to certain populations in Coles county (Steyermark).

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.

Specific epithet refers to the peltate leaves.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

This rare form is perhaps best grown in a prominent location in a woodland setting, wild or native plant garden or naturalized area. Because plants naturalize easily to form colonies but go dormant in summer (foliage disappears), mayapple is not considered a good border plant. May be difficult to obtain in commerce.