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Podophyllum peltatum (May Apple)

May Apple, Mayapple, American Mandrake, Behen, Devil's Apple, Duck's Foot, Ground Lemon, Hog Apple, Indian Apple, Indian May Apple, Peca, Raccoon Berry, Wild Jalap, Wild Lemon Tree, Wild Mandrake

Podophyllum peltatum, May Apple, American Mandrake, Behen, Devil's Apple, Duck's Foot, Ground Lemon, Hog Apple, Indian Apple, Indian May Apple, Peca, Raccoon Berry, Wild Jalap, Wild Lemon Tree, Wild Mandrake, Shade perennials, White flowers

Grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive foliage and flowers, Podophyllum peltatum (May Apple) is a rhizomatous perennial forming eye-catching clumps of big shiny green umbrella-like leaves, 12 in. across (30 cm). From a single stem, each plant features 1 or 2 leaves and 1 flower. Emerging bronze, the leaves are deeply divided into 5-9 lobes. They remain closed as the stem elongates, just like an unopened umbrella, and unfold when the plant has reached its mature height. In spring, solitary, nodding, white to rose-colored flowers, 3 in. wide (7 cm), are formed in the leaf axil. While showy, they are often hidden by the foliage and can be seen through rather than from above the plants. Plants with only a single leaf will not flower. The charming blossoms are followed by edible when fully ripe (poisonous until that stage), fleshy, green fruits which turn golden when mature and may be used to make preserves and jellies. May Apple goes dormant in summer and dies back completely. It often forms large, dense colonies in the wild and makes a slowly spreading, attractive groundcover in shady areas with moist soil.

  • Grows up to 12-18 in. tall (30-45 cm) and 10-12 in. wide (25-30 cm). Will self-seed where happy.
  • Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade or full shade. Thrives in moist, humusy soils. Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Undemanding and virtually pest-free and disease-free, May Apple is excellent for naturalizing in woodland gardens, wild or native plant gardens. This plant is rarely used in borders, as it goes dormant in the summer, leaving a large gap that is difficult to fill.
  • Although the leaves, roots, and seeds are poisonous if ingested in large quantities, the roots were used as a cathartic by Native Americans.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses, toxic to humans.
  • Native to eastern North America.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 2 - 8
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Berberidaceae
Common names May Apple, Peca
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 10" - 1'
(25cm - 30cm)
Spacing 12" (30cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Southwest, Southeast, Midwest, Northeast, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Full Shade, Drought, Deer, Rabbit, Dry Soil
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 2 - 8
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Berberidaceae
Common names May Apple, Peca
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Height 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spread 10" - 1'
(25cm - 30cm)
Spacing 12" (30cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Southwest, Southeast, Midwest, Northeast, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Full Shade, Drought, Deer, Rabbit, Dry Soil
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?

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