Saturday, June 6, 2009

Beware of the 'devil's apple'

The most ubiquitous wild plant in Deerfield is the mayapple (podophyllum peltatum). The herbaceous perennial plant shows itself in March and grows madly until June.

We have several woodland patches of mayapples larger than the footprint of a small house.

The fruit of the mayapple (shown in photo) does resemble a small green apple, but don’t let it fool you. If ingested in quantity, the fruit is poisonous. The roots are highly poisonous.

Other names for the mayapple are hogapple, Indian apple, umbrella plant, wild mandrake and devil’s apple.

I’ll bushhog most of the mayapples in the next few weeks, but they will be back next spring in spades.

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