May Apple

(Podophyllum peltatum)


The umbrella-shaped leaves of mayapple can cover an entire hillside. The foot-wide leaves are glabrous and prone to get a rust at the end of the growing season. The single waxy-white flower is 2 inches across and fragrant. The flower is borne under the leaves in the angle of the petioles on a short, nodding pedicel. The 2.5 inch fruit is ripe and edible when it is completely light red. The entire plant is toxic otherwise. Mayapple can be found in all parks; Duff Park’s west slope off Forbes Trail is covered by dozens of mayapple.