|Flower bud forming ...|
Fruit is edible but other parts of this plant are poisonous!
Common mayapple, devil's apple, duck's foot, ground lemon, hog apple, Indian apple, mandrake, mayapple, podophyllum, racoonberry, umbrella plant, vegetable calomel, vegetable mercury, wild jalap, wild lemon, wild mandrake, yellowberry.
An erect perennial that grows to about 1 to 11/2 feet in height. Two umbrella-like, palmately lobed leaves grow at the top of each plant, rarely 3. The plant produces a white flower in fork of leaves, and ovate yellow fruit.
March to May
Deciduous forest in mountain areas, rich woods, thickets, and pastures; prefers shade.
Rootstock in fall and sometimes in spring before leaves appear
The fruit may be eaten raw after it is ripened by frost, but not everyone enjoys the flavor. Ripened fruit is cooked into jam or jelly.
Improper use of this plant could be very dangerous. The roots and rhizomes are used as a purgative. A resin from the plant, called padophyllin, has been used to treat venereal warts. The resin is extremely allergenic; it exhibits anti-tumor activity. In Appalacia, a tea of bark and roots is used to treat constipation.
Externally, mayapple is used as a treatment for warts and skin eruptions. Internally, a very small amount of root may be used as a cathartic (Laxative), a worm expellant, for jaundice, constipation, hepatitis, fever and syphilis.