Flowering-stem. - Two-leaved, one-flowered. Flower less-stems. - Terminated by one large, rounded, much-lobed leaf. Leaves (of flowering-stems). - One-sided, five to nine-lobed, the lobes oblong, the leaf-stalks fastened to their lower side near the inner edge. Flower. - White, large, nodding from the fork made by the two leaves. Calyx. - Of six early-falling sepals. Corolla. - Of six to nine rounded petals. Stamens. - Twice as many as the petals. Pistil. - One, with a large, thick stigma set close to the ovary. Fruit. - A large, fleshy, egg-shaped berry, sweet and edible.
Plate IV. May-Apple - P. peltatum
"The umbrellas are out ! " cry the children, when the great green leaves of the May-apple first unfold themselves in spring. These curious-looking leaves at once betray the hiding-place of the pretty but unpleasantly odoriferous flower which nods beneath them. They lie thickly along the woods and meadows in many parts of the country, arresting one's attention by the railways. The fruit, which ripens in July, has been given the name of " wild lemon," in some places on account of its shape. It was valued by the Indians for medicinal purposes, and its mawkish flavor still seems to find favor with the children, notwithstanding its frequently unpleasant after-effects. The leaves and roots are poisonous if taken internally, and are said to have been used as a pot herb, with fatal results. They yield an extract which has been utilized in medicine.