Scientific Name(s): Podophyllum peltatum
Abundance: uncommon
What: fruit
How: peel rind then eat raw
Where: woods
When: early summer
Nutritional Value:
Dangers: fruit contains a small amount of toxin but is safe to eat in moderation. Do not eat the seeds or fruit rind.

Leaf Arrangement: 1st year plants have one leaf. Plants two years or older plants will have two leaves opposite each other at the end of the stem.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are large, deeply lobed, and umbrella-like, often reaching lengths of 12 to 16 inches and widths of 8 to 12 inches.

Leaf Venation: The venation is palmate, with several prominent veins radiating outward from the base of the leaf.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margin is typically lobed and can be smooth or slightly wavy.

Leaf Color: The leaves are bright green and may have a slightly glossy appearance. The underside is paler than the upper surface.

Flower Structure: The flowers are solitary, one per plant, and appear at the leaf axils, typically measuring around 2 to 3 inches in diameter.

Flower Color: The flowers are usually white, occasionally with a tinge of pink or yellow.

Fruit: The fruit is a large, fleshy berry.

Seed: The seeds are numerous, small, and brown, contained within the berry.

Stem: The stem is round and smooth.

Hairs: The plant may have minimal to no hairs on the stem and leaves.

Height: Podophyllum peltatum can reach a height of 12 to 18 inches, with the large, distinctive leaves held above the ground on a single stem.

Mayapple seedling.

Mayapples in East Texas woods in March.

Mayapple plants in June in central Texas. They can have either one or two leaves.

Individual mayapple plant.

Mayapples stems are about nine inches long before the Y-joint and about 18 inches overall.

Mayapple leaves.

Mayapple Y-joint. A single fruit grows off the small stem at the center of the Y-joint.

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Mayapples are oddly named as its single, white flower appears in the spring, but the fruit doesn't ripen until early June in Texas. The fruit is yellow and somewhat wrinkly when ripe and small, about two inches along it's longest dimension. Do not eat the fruit if it is still green. Peel the fruit and just eat the inner flesh. Do not eat the skin/rind as it is a strong laxative. The seeds, root, and leaves contain powerful toxins and must NOT be consumed. After enjoying the fruit's flesh, plant the seeds so more mayapples will grow.

Mayapples prefer moist soil in dappled shade so look for it in low-laying woods along paths or where the tree canopy has openings that let a bit of sunlight reach the forest floor. Usually several of the above ground portions near each other are connected via a long, single root. The entire above-ground portion dies away in late summer/early fall.

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