Podophyllum Species, Mayapple, Ground Lemon, Hog Apple, Wild Mandrake, Indian Apple

Podophyllum peltatum

Family: Berberidaceae (bear-ber-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Podophyllum (po-do-FIL-um) (Info)
Species: peltatum (pel-TAY-tum) (Info)
Synonym:Anapodophyllum peltatum
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama

Florence, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama

Laceys Spring, Alabama

Oakman, Alabama

Pelham, Alabama

Bella Vista, Arkansas

Malvern, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Mountain Home, Arkansas

Andover, Connecticut

East Haddam, Connecticut

Cordele, Georgia

Monroe, Georgia

Anna, Illinois

Champaign, Illinois

Jacksonville, Illinois

La Grange Park, Illinois

Lake Zurich, Illinois

Machesney Park, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Valparaiso, Indiana

Barbourville, Kentucky

Benton, Kentucky

Cadiz, Kentucky

Custer, Kentucky

Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Melbourne, Kentucky

Monticello, Kentucky

Murray, Kentucky

Brunswick, Maine

Baltimore, Maryland

Brookeville, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

Frederick, Maryland

Oakland, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Beverly, Massachusetts

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Northfield, Massachusetts

Rochdale, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts

Wayland, Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Caro, Michigan

Eastpointe, Michigan

Erie, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Smiths Creek, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota(2 reports)

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Marietta, Mississippi

Cole Camp, Missouri

Fulton, Missouri

Grovespring, Missouri

Piedmont, Missouri

Greenfield, New Hampshire

Rindge, New Hampshire

Neptune, New Jersey

Ballston Lake, New York

Brooklyn, New York

Croton On Hudson, New York

High Falls, New York

Jordan, New York

Salt Point, New York

Wynantskill, New York

Burlington, North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Lumberton, North Carolina

Trinity, North Carolina

Blanchester, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Fresno, Ohio

Guysville, Ohio

Lewis Center, Ohio

Swanton, Ohio

Youngstown, Ohio

Claremore, Oklahoma

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Florence, Oregon(2 reports)

Portland, Oregon

Elkins Park, Pennsylvania

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Havertown, Pennsylvania

Malvern, Pennsylvania

Mifflintown, Pennsylvania

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

West Newton, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Newport, Rhode Island

Conway, South Carolina

Collinwood, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Michie, Tennessee

Viola, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Dike, Texas

Huntsville, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Quinlan, Texas

Blacksburg, Virginia

Fort Valley, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

Seattle, Washington

Elkins, West Virginia

Rhinelander, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 27, 2016, RhodyDude from Takoma Park, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Beautiful plant, but at least in my garden, it is ephemeral and by mid summer has pretty much died down leaving a large area of earth without anything in leaf. My assumption is that this is normal in its native habitat. Unfortunately, I've not found anything to plant with mayapple to address this issue. What would start growing in, say late May and be in full form by July, and, ideally be native that would go well with this plant?


On Aug 22, 2015, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

This attractive plant has a storied medicinal history as a slow-acting, but powerful cathartic. It thrives in consistently moist, but well-drained soil, in a mostly shaded location where some leaf mulch accumulates. Plants consist of sterile, single-stemmed stalks and fertile, double stemmed stalks. Easily transplanted, spreading rhizomes will send new stalks popping up in consecutive seasons where the plant succeeds. The plant is very susceptible to various diseases in hot summers.

A fertile stem will produce a single attractive flower (with pleasant scent) tucked under its leaves. The single, golden fruit that follows is delicious, but prevailing wisdom urges that consumption should be limited to a single thoroughly ripened fruit if not avoided altogether, and the seeds sh... read more


On May 2, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

An attractive native woodland plant, it can spread fairly aggressively where happy---not a plant for the mixed border. Has a shallow running rhizome that's fairly easy to dig out. Transplant as it goes dormant in early-mid summer, not in early spring.

The flowers are hidden under the foliage, but can be shown off by planting it atop an elevated spot where it can be viewed from below. Most colonies are a single clone, and plants are not self-fertile, so fruits will only be produced if you plant more than one clone together. Fruits are poisonous unless very well ripened.


On May 2, 2015, joancwal from Quinlan, TX wrote:

I live in North Texas about an hour from Dallas and have these enchanting little umbrellas growing in my woods. The first time I saw them I had no idea what they were. While reading a gardening magazine, there they were! Mayapples. I have been absolutely enamored with them ever since.
They grow in partial to all shade. They stay well into August even though it is very hot and they never get watered! I have been wanting to taste the fruit for several years, but by the time they are supposed to be ripe, they have all disappeared.
I have no idea where they came from. I don't know if someone years ago planted them or if they are wild. I do know I am thrilled every spring when they arrive. Last summer my husband decided to clear that area of underbrush. ... read more


On May 25, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

This gorgeous plant is native to the U.S. It's such a delight to see it in the woods.

The flowers are pollinated by bumblebees and other long-tongued bees. The foliage is avoided by deer because of its poisonous qualities and bitter taste. 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. The seeds are distributed to new locations in the faeces of these animals.


On Apr 30, 2011, wendymadre from Petersburg, VA wrote:

In Petersburg, Virginia, Zone 7, mayapples grow beside the trails running west from town along the Appomattox River. They are growing in the dappled shade, and in fairly deep shade.


On May 16, 2010, jleigh from Ballston Lake, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:

I saw this plant growing in the wild on a hike in the Adirondacks. The pretty little flower tucked under a large canopy of leaf... Prefers shade and nutrient rich soil of a woodland garden.
The roots are supposedly used medicinally, but all parts of plant are toxic to humans and animals if ingested in bulk. Reaction depends on sensitivity and of course weight of both the amount ingested and the ingestee.


On Apr 25, 2009, hart from Shenandoah Valley, VA wrote:

One of the signs of spring here is the mayapples magically popping up almost overnight along the roadsides in wooded areas. The blooms are mostly hidden by the foliage, but that's okay - the foliage is such a fresh, bright green and a welcome sight after winter.

This plant is apparently juglone tolerant and is thriving in fairly dry shade under a black walnut in my yard.


On Dec 20, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

For me this species is rather slow to mulitply or even to flower - it stays in the same spot for at least three to four years for me now. Another house not too far away have it multiply like crazy.


On Apr 20, 2008, Colquhoun from Champaign, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Had the hardest time getting this little gem to thrive, but after 3 years it took off. Truly a native gem.


On Oct 26, 2007, creekwalker from Benton County, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have tried for a few years to find the fruit of this plant so I could try it. The animals must love them! I have a few patches growing on my land and I will watch them flower and the fruit begin, but it always disappears before it's ripe.

This plant doesn't seem to be invasive even though it can grow in large colonies and then it dies out early and is gone for most of the summer.


On May 8, 2006, Leehallfae from Seattle, WA wrote:

Mayapple did very well in my container garden in the summer/fall of 2005. Consistently produced lovely blooms.

It is an easy-care plant.


On Apr 30, 2006, vorlonken from Andover, CT wrote:

I first discovered this plant growing on our property in Preston, CT. It makes a wonderful groundcover where it gets semi-shade. The sunnier the location the earlier it goes dormant, so at least partial shade is important. Under the correct conditions this plant forms dense colonies of overlapping leaves that will shade out other weeds. It is a very effective weed controlling groundcover!

I transplanted a few plants to my small property in Willimantic where it completely filled a difficult location under a maple tree on my property line in about 5 years. I always looked forward to seeing it come up because I knew for sure that Spring had arrived.

When I moved to a 3.5 acre property in Andover 5 years ago I again brought some plants with me and planted them in ... read more


On Feb 14, 2006, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Several years back, I would admire these plants
each spring alongside the highway. They seem
like little Brownie umbrellas to me, and gave way for
the imagination to go wild.

To make a long story short, I found a small patch on our
property, transplanted them and waited patiently for
the bloom. I kept my fingers crossed for more the following

Fast forward to 2003. Upon walking about our property
in early spring, I happened upon the largest patch of
Mandrake I'd ever seen, right there in our own back
yard so to speak, and I never even knew they were

What a sight! It looked like something out of a movie, so
lush, so green, so shiny!

I can't... read more


On Feb 21, 2004, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

Large patches of this plant grow in the steeply ridged woods behind my son's house in Coweta County, Georgia, about 40 miles Southwest of Atlanta. Of course before his subdivision was bulldozed in, I'm sure they grew on his property too, as that whole ridge is second growth oaks, hickory, and some tulip poplar, with mainly dogwoods and black gums as understory. This ridge falls down to a boulder strewn rushing creek that goes pretty rapidly through a steep drop at this point, and while I was living there it was always fun to walk the dogs through the deer paths in these woods and look at all of the various wild flowers. These plants grew in the sunniest part of the woods, I noticed, and weren't found in the really steep, densely shaded parts.


On Feb 20, 2004, jesup from Malvern, PA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Member of the barberry family; they grow wild in patches over a wide area of the eastern US and Canada. They spear up through leaves, etc early in the spring and spread a canopy 12-18" high and 8-16" wide. Shoots with a single canopy have no flower; ones with a dual canopy will develop a flower. They mostly spread by thick, deep rhizome and form patches.

It makes a good groundcover for the early part of the year; at least in this area of PA it tends to disappear by mid-summer when the fruit ripens - around July to September, depending on location. Also it appears vulnerable to an orange rust fungus. It does not need direct sunlight though it tolerates it. Once established it spreads readily.

As stated, they are very poisonous in general (potentially fata... read more


On Apr 7, 2003, NatureChild wrote:

There are about 10 species of the mayapple throughout North America. The fruits are edible and taste like lemon. The rest of the plant is highly toxic. The rhizomes contain a cancer fighting substance and is listed in the US Pharmacopeia but it is way too intense for do-it-yourselfers
Please don't try it at home.


On Apr 12, 2001, dave wrote:

A single stem with 2 leaves per plant. Directly between the two leaf nodes a flower will appear, leaving behind a mayapple fruit.

Grows usually in wooded areas to a height of 12 to 18 inches tall. The flower is white and blooms in April.