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PODOPHYLLUM peltatum

Image of Podophyllum peltatum

James Burghardt

Family

Berberidaceae

Botanical Name

PODOPHYLLUM peltatum

Plant Common Name

American Mandrake, Mayapple

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

A harbinger of spring in the woodland garden, mayapple boats large lobed leaves that produce umbrellas over the small white and fragrant flowers. An herbaceous perennial that that creeps its underground stems (rhizomes) to form large mat-like sweeps, it is native to southeastern North America's deciduous forests.

Lightly bronzed when first emerging, the leaves unfurl upon a tall stem and become a rounded blade with teethed lobes. They mature to a medium to dark green. In mid-spring, before overstory trees leaf out and cast shade, a small, usually nine-petaled flower dangles from the stem under the leaf. It is white to light pink, fragrant and cup-shaped. The flower develops into an edible small fruit that is yellowish green. By late spring the leaves are growing in full shade under the forest trees and will disappear once frost kills the foliage back in fall.

Grow mayapple in fertile, humusy soils that are cool and moist but well-drained in partial to full shade. Full sun is appropriate only in early spring as leaves emerge and flowering occurs. Use it as a massed groundcover in a woodland garden. Allow leaf litter to accumulate around the plants and to form a loose mulch over the roots.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 2

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring

  • Native To

    North America, United States, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, South-Central United States, Texas, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Feature Plant, Groundcover, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes