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Podophyllum peltatum



Mayapple

Mayapple in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Podophyllum
Species: P. peltatum
Binomial name
Podophyllum peltatum
L.

Podophyllum peltatum [1] (the mayapple) is a herbaceous perennial plant in the family Berberidaceae, native to the eastern part of North America.

Additional recommended knowledge

The stems grow to 30-40 cm tall, with palmately lobed leaves up to 20-30 cm diameter with 5-9 deeply cut lobes. The plant produces two growth forms. The ones with a single umbrella-like leaf do not produce any flower or fruit. The plants having a twin leaf (rarely three-leaf) structure, however, bear a single white flower 3-5 cm diameter with six (rarely up to nine) petals, between the two leaves; this matures into a yellow-greenish fruit 2-5 cm long. The plant appears in colonies in open woodlands. Individual shoots are often connected by systems of thick tubers and rhizomes. [2]

Despite the common name mayapple [3], it is the flower that appears in early May, not the "apple", which appears later during the summer. The Mayapple is also called the Devil's apple, Hogapple, Indian apple, Umbrella plant (shape of the leaves), Wild lemon (flavor of the fruit), Wild mandrake, and American mandrake (shape of rhizomes).

According to Brian Fondren, the rhizome of the mayapple has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, originally by Native Americans and later by other settlers. [2]

Toxicity

All the parts of the plant, excepting the fruit, are poisonous. This plant can kill humans within 24 hours. Even the fruit, though not dangerously poisonous, can cause unpleasant red/yellow diarrhea. The plant contains podophyllotoxin [4], which is used as a cytostatic and topically in the treatment of genital warts.        

Notes

  1. ^ TSN 18850. Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  2. ^ a b Fondren, Brian T. Mayapple. Ethnobotanical leaflets. Retrieved on 2006-06-03.
  3. ^ Podophyllum peltatum at USDA PLANTS Database
  4. ^ Moraes, R.M., H. Lata, E. Bedir, M. Maqbool, and K. Cushman. 2002. On American Mayapple as practical source of podophyllotoxin p. 527–532. In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.), Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.

References

  • Blanchan, Neltje (2002). Wild Flowers: An Aid to Knowledge of our Wild Flowers and their Insect Visitors. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. 
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Podophyllum_peltatum". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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