Family, Barberry. Sepals, 6, falling early. Petals, 6 to 9, roundish. Stamens, twice as many as petals. Fruit, a large berry, with many seeds filling the cavity. The large, solitary flower droops from a short peduncle between the leaves. Three green bractlets lie underneath, which soon fall. Besides the flowering stems, other stems arise from the rootstock bearing one roundish, 7 to 9-lobed leaf, with the stalk joined underneath to the middle. Leaves, 2 on forking, stout petioles rising above the flower. Large, variously 5 to 9-lobed, the stalk affixed underneath, a little distance from the edge. May.
The children call these umbrella leaves. The fruit, called in New Jersey May apple, is edible - that is, it is sweetish and not poisonous, as are all other parts of this singular plant. In New England, May apple is the name of a modi-lied bud which produces a singular pulpous body upon the azalea.
Mr. Gibson speaks of the mandrake berry as " a yellow, tomato-like affair," which, he adds, "has a selfish errand in life. It is filled with seeds, and is concerned only in its own posterity."