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Quick Answer: What is a May apple tree?

Mayapple is a native woodland plant that is widespread across most of eastern North America south to Texas in zones 3 to 8. All the parts of the plant, except the fruit, contain podophyllotoxin which is highly toxic if consumed, but was used by Native Americans for a variety of medicinal purposes.

Are May apples edible?

Mayapples are woodland plants, typically growing in colonies derived from a single root. All the parts of the plant are poisonous, including the green fruit, but once the fruit has turned yellow, it can be safely eaten. The ripe fruit does not produce toxicity.

What is mayapple used for?

May-apple has been used by both First Nations and settlers as a laxative and tonic, to expel worms, and to treat warts and growths. It became a popular ingredient in patent medicines of the late 1800s, especially those aimed at liver problems.

What does a May apple tree look like?

The large, twin, umbrella-like leaves of the mayapple are showy and conspicuous. The leaves continue to grow after flowering and can reach up to 40 cm (16”) across. The leaves are bright green, but after flowering they become covered with yellow spots. By mid summer, the entire leaf yellows and returns to the soil.

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How long do Mayapples last?

Mayapple Plant Information The blooming period is short, lasting only two to three weeks in mid- to late spring.

What animals eat Mayapples?

The foliage of Mayapple is avoided by mammalian herbivores because of its poisonous qualities and bitter taste. The seeds and rhizomes are also poisonous. The berries are edible if they are fully ripe; they are eaten by box turtles and possibly by such mammals as opossums, raccoons, and skunks.

Are Mayapples poisonous to touch?

The leaves of the plant, along with the fruit (when it is not ripened) are toxic to dogs, both internally and externally. Although the fruit of the Mayapple is toxic when unripened, it is edible once it ripens. When it is ripe the fruit turns a yellowish and greenish color.

Do morels grow near Mayapples?

Do Morels Grow Under Mayapples? Yes and no. Mayapples were traditionally used to know when to start hunting morels in the spring. When Mayapples start to sprout from the soil it’s a good time to hunt for morels.

Are Mayapples good?

While it may have some medicinal uses and folklore associated with it, there have been many accounts of mayapple poisoning so it’s wise to be careful with ingesting it. Still, it has a wonderful exotic flavour that seems out of place in the North. It is a fascinating native plant that is a wonderful midsummer treat.

How do you eat Mayapples?

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Trail side nibble, the basis for a cold drink, jelly (add pectin) compotes, marmalade, pies and a sauce like applesauce. Mayapples can be canned and they freeze well. Do not eat the seeds. Remove them before cooking.

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Do Mayapples flower?

Only stems with more than one leaf will flower. Mayapple often forms large, dense colonies in the wild. Each flower is 2-3 inches wide, with 6 light green sepals, 6 to 9 waxy petals, and twice as many stamens with white filaments and yellow anthers.

Why is it called Mayapple?

Mayapple colonizes by rhizomes, forming dense mats in damp, open woods. The common name refers to the May blooming of its apple-blossom-like flower. Although the leaves, roots, and seeds are poisonous if ingested in large quantities, the roots were used as a cathartic by Native Americans.

Can you transplant Mayapples?

As Mayapple is highly rhizomatous it is easy to dig up, cut into sections and transplant sections of root in early spring to establish new plants and new colonies. Transplanting can also be done in the fall after the leaves have senesced. Mayapple forms large clonal colonies in any rich woodland soil.

Are Mayapples invasive?

Mayapple is a lovely native woodland plant – no need to control. They do spread by rhizomes (underground stems) to form colonies. All parts of the mayapple plant are toxic, except for the ripe flesh of the fruit, but the seeds contained in the flesh are also toxic, as is unripe fruit.

Will deer eat Mayapples?

Plant May Apple in your shade garden for unique, bright green foliage growing in the early spring. This woodland beauty grows to only about 18” and is deer-resistant, making this the perfect choice for most shade gardens. Plants with only one leaf will not flower. Mayapple goes dormant in summer (foliage dissappears).

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What plant looks like Mayapple?

It is called Umbrella leaf (Diphylleia cymosa). Let’s take a close look at a single leaf from each plant. First, the Mayapple.

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