Mayapple. Podophyllum peltatum L.

Figure 76.—Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Other Common Names

Mandrake, wild mandrake, American mandrake, wild lemon, ground lemon, hog apple, devil's apple, Indian apple, raccoon berry, duck's-foot, umbrella plant, vegetable calomel.

Habitat And Range

The mayapple is a native plant found in low woods, usually growing in patches, from western Quebec to Minnesota and south to Florida and Texas


A patch of mayapple is easily distinguished from afar by the smooth, dark-green foliage and the even stand, which makes it conspicuous in the woodland. It is an erect plant about 1 foot in height with only two leaves, which are circular in outline but with five to seven lobes, the latter being two cleft. The leaves, which are sometimes a foot in diameter, are borne on long leafstalks which are fixed to the center of the leaves, giving them an umbrella-like appearance. The waxy white flower, about 2 inches in diameter, is produced in May on a short stout stalk between the two leaves. The fruit which follows is about 2 inches in length, lemon shaped, green at first, then yellow.

Part Used

The rootstock, collected late in September or October.