Saturday, May 21, 2011

Podophyllum peltatum

Mayapple is a native perennial found in the eastern United States from about Minnesota/Texas to the coast. They are found in wooded, shaded thickets and grow best in moist soil. The plants grow and flower late April to early June. The single flower becomes an edible, though not particularly tasty, fruit.

The plant is actually mildly toxic all over but the highest concentrations of the toxic compounds are found in the rhizomes (root-like stems). These compounds have traditionally been used in herbalism but western science has also transformed them into useful cancer-killing drugs.

Despite its toxicity the mayapple fruit is used to make jams and jellies. Deliciously irritating!

Sources: Kaczmarek, Frank (2009). New England Wildflowers. Guilford, CT: Falcon Guides.

Alternative Nature Online Herbal:

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