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Podophyllum peltatum

Common Names: May-apple,
Podophyllum peltatum
Podophyllum peltatum

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Podophyllum
Species: Podophyllum peltatum

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

May-apples grow to be around 12 inches tall. The leaves are large, umbrella-like, and deepy lobed. It produces a single white flower that is about 1-2 inches in diameter. The flower is waxy, nodding, with 6-9 petals, and attached at the fork of paired leafstalks. The flowers produce a fleshy, yellow-green fruit that is apple-shaped.

Habitat & Range

May-apples are found in forests, along streams, and in open areas. They are native to much of the eastern half of North America in both Canada and the US.


The flowers of the may-apple produce a greenish-yellow fruit that is about the size of a large grape. The fruit is only edible when fully ripe, producing a yellow color. The rest of the plant is poisonous, including the green fruit.

Life Cycle

May-apples emerge from its underground roots in the spring. As the plant grows, it produces large, umbrella-like leaves. After reaching maturity, it produces a single white flower during April-June. Once the flower is pollinated, it develops into a fruit.

Featured image by James Dake.


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