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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mayapple in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Podophyllum
Species: P. peltatum
Binomial name
Podophyllum peltatum

Podophyllum peltatum, commonly called mayapple, is a herbaceous perennial plant in the family Berberidaceae, native to wooded areas of eastern North America.[1]

The stems grow to 30-40 cm tall, with palmately lobed leaves up to 20-30 cm diameter with 5-9 deeply cut lobes. Young or weakened plants produce a single radial (umbrella-like) leaf and do not flower, while mature plants produce two (rarely three) palmate leaves and a single white flower 3-5 cm diameter with six (rarely up to nine) petals; the flower matures into a yellow-greenish fruit 2-5 cm long. The plant appears in colonies in open woodlands. Individual shoots are often connected by systems of thick tubers and rhizomes.[2]

Though the common name is mayapple,[3] it is the flower that appears in early May, not the "apple". The fruit or "apple" is produced early summer and ripens later in summer. P. peltatum is also called hogapple, Indian apple, mayflower, umbrella plant (shape of the leaves), wild lemon (flavor of the fruit), wild mandrake, American mandrake (shape of rhizomes) or "devil's apple" (used for Solanum linnaeanum elsewhere).

The rhizome of the mayapple has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, originally by Native Americans and later by other settlers.[2]




The ripened fruit is edible in moderate amounts, though when consumed in large amounts the fruit is poisonous. The rhizome, foliage and roots are also poisonous, [4] Mayapple contains podophyllotoxin,[5] which is used as a cytostatic and topically in the treatment of viral and genital warts.



  1. ^ TSN 18850. Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  2. ^ a b Fondren, Brian T. "Mayapple". Ethnobotanical leaflets. Retrieved 2006-06-03.  
  3. ^ Podophyllum peltatum at USDA PLANTS Database
  4. ^ Blanchan, Neltje (2002). Wild Flowers: An Aid to Knowledge of our Wild Flowers and their Insect Visitors. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  
  5. ^ Moraes, R.M., H. Lata, E. Bedir, M. Maqbool, and K. Cushman. 2002. On American Mayapple as practical source of podophyllotoxin p. 527–532. In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.), Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Podophyllum peltatum


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Ordo: Unassigned Eudicots
Ordo: Ranunculales
Familia: Berberidaceae
Subfamilia: Berberidoideae
Tribus: Berberideae
Subtribus: Epimediinae
Genus: Podophyllum
Species: Podophyllum peltatum


Podophyllum peltatum L.

Vernacular names

English: May apple, American mandrake
Français: Podophylle pelté
Русский: Подофилл щитовидный


  • Species Plantarum 1:505. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Podophyllum peltatum on Wikimedia Commons.


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