Podophyllum peltatum

Flowers and Foliage
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: may-apple 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Berberidaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America south to Texas
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Black Walnut


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.

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.

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.


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.