Podophyllum peltatum 

May apple, mandrake

Names and Myths

Podo Foot phylum leaf (a shortening by Linneaus of anapodophyllum duck foot leaf given to it by Catesby) .2

 peltatum peltate, shield-shaped

Natural history / Folklore

Fruit poisonous until ripe at which time the stem may have collapsed leaving the fruit to mature while lying on the ground.29  The rootstock contains podophyllin may cause skin irratition,5 but has also been used as a caustic to remove certain kinds of warts.29   Some of the May apple toxins effect cell division and are being investigated for their potential as anticancer drugs6,19  May apples were a favorite food for wild hogs released in the mountains.15 The root is toxic and was used by Menominis and Iroquois as an insecticide29, and by other tribes to commit suicide.17

Species List Family Group
Previous Study Next


April – June Single white 2” flower with 6-9 waxy petals, twice as many stamens, borne between two leaves. Flower develops into a sweet yellow fruit. Younger plants with a single leaf do not flower.