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Genus Podophyllum (Mayapple)

Podophyllum Podophyllum peltatum Photo/Illustration: Jennifer Benner
poe-doe-FIL-lum Common Name: Mayapple
Podophyllum is a genus of about nine species of woodland perennials from North America and parts of Asia, mostly grown for their foliage and form. A patch of mayapples in the garden looks like a parade of open parasols. Flowers are pink, white, or red, but they are somemtimes hidden under the foliage. Blooms are followed by 1- to 2-inch fruit that looks like small apples or eggs. It is sometimes eaten by wildlife. Some species have leaves marbled with purple or brown markings. Mayapples belong in a woodland garden or other moist, shady area. They can spread by rhizomes to form large colonies.
Noteworthy characteristics: Umbrella-like, lobed foliage. Most species are highly toxic.
Care: Grow in full or part shade in woodsy, moist soil.
Propagation: As soon as seeds are ripe, sow them in containers in an open frame. Plants may be divided in spring or late summer.
Problems: Slugs may eat new spring growth.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Podophyllum

Podophyllum 'Kaleidoscope' Podophyllum 'Kaleidoscope'
(Hybrid mayapple, Asian mayapple)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

As the cultivar name suggests, the leaves of ‘Kaleidoscope’ have distinctive markings, which can range in color from silver to light green to nearly black. Maroon flowers bloom in early summer. This plant is mostly evergreen. The plant's growth habit is umbrella-like. -Sylvia Matlock, Regional Picks: Northwest, Fine Gardening issue #127

Podophyllum peltatum Podophyllum peltatum
(American mandrake, Mayapple)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Mayapple is a rhizomatous, native woodland perennial with leaves in the shape of an umbrella. They may form large colonies. In spring, white or pale pink waxy flowers are mostly hidden under the leaves. The greenish "mayapple" follows and is often eaten by wildlife. When fully ripe, the fruits may be used to make preserves or jellies, but they are toxic when unripe. Leaves and roots are poisonous. Plants often go dormant in the summer. Grow in a woodland garden.