Thursday, March 4, 2010

Podophyllum - May Apple

A genus of 6 spring flowering, groundcover perennials that are distant relatives of the Barberry. They are propagated from root division while dormant ( easily done ) and from seed. The seed can be sown in a cold frame during late summer or early autumn. The seed germinates easier after passing through the digestive systems of wild animals. Clumps can be divided during late summer. Mulching is recommended during the winter to prevent freeze / thaw damage. Insect and disease pests are rare though slugs may sometimes attack plants.
Wash hands after handling the Mayapple as the sap may cause a rash.

Podophyllum delavayi
A Mayapple, reaching up to 1.5 x 1.5 feet, that is native to China. The irregular peltate leaves, up to 12 inches across, have 6 lobes, each divided into 3 more lobes. The velvety foliage is black-purple in spring turning to luxuriant green with rich plum-purple mottling.
The pinkish-red to deep red flowers are borne during summer.
They are followed by orange fruits.
Hardy zones 6 to 9

Podophyllum difforme
An evergreen Mayapple native to Hubei Province in China with extremely large, shallowly-lobed, starfish-shaped leathery foliage, up to 18 x 18 inches in size. The attractive foliage is deep green with central variegation that is black-purplish, white and lighter green. In zone 6, it may become deciduous during most winters.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist, fertile soil. It thrives in the Pacific Northwest with growth beginning with the fall rains.

'Kaleidoscope'
Clumps reach up to 3 x 2 feet in height. The leaves, up to 24 inches across, are pattered with purple, bronze and silver.
The red flowers, up to 2 inches across, are borne in clusters of up to 20.
Hardy zones 5 to 8

* photos taken on March 28 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum



'Starfish Strain'
Starfish-shaped leaves

Podophyllum hexandrum ( Himalayan Mayapple )
Also called Podophyllum emodi. A fast growing, rhizomatous perennial forming a clump up to 3 x 2 feet that is native to mountain meadows and forests from Afghanistan to central China.
The huge, deeply 3 to 5 lobed, rounded leaves, up to 8 x 14 inches with toothed margins, are purple mottled at first, turning to all glossy deep green. The paired leaves are borne on stalks up to 3 feet in height.
The nodding, rich pink, cup-shaped flowers, up to 2 inches across, are borne during early spring.
The glossy orange-red, egg-shaped berries, up to 4 x 2 inches, are not edible but this plant does contain anti-cancerous properties.
Hardy zones 5 to 8, thriving even in milder parts of Newfoundland. Not drought tolerant.

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


subsp 'chinensis'
More vigorous, reaching a maximum height of 3.3 feet, with boldly marked foliage and pale rose-pink flowers.

'Majus'
Vigorous in habit.

Podophyllum peltatum ( May Apple )
Forming a deciduous clump up to 32 inches x 5+ feet, this beautiful groundcover perennial is native to rich woods in eastern North America ( from eastern Nebraska to northeast Minnesota to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Goderich, Ontario to Parry Sound, Ontario to far southeastern Quebec and New Hampshire; south to eastern Texas to central Georgia ). In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was abundant along the Canard River Valley as well as around Point Pelee during the 1800s. It was also abundant at Detroit and the Ohio shore during the presettlement era. A vigorous, rhizomatous spreading perennial, it will sometimes form huge colonies in the wild that persist for centuries. Some records include: 5 years - clump width of 5 feet.
The deeply 5 to 9 lobed palmate leaves, up to 15 x 16 ( rarely over 12 ) inches, are borne on stems up to 3.5 feet. They are glossy bright green, turning to mid green.
The solitary, nodding, creamy-white, bell-shaped flowers, up to 2 inches across, are borne mid to late spring.
The oval fruits, up to 3 inches in length, are silvery to pink. The fleshy fruits can be eaten raw, dried, cooked, made into jelly or made into a juice and mixed with lemonade.
The fruits taste like Strawberries and can be prepared by cutting off the ends.
While the fruits are edible, the remainder of the plant is poisonous to ingest.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist, fertile soil. Drought tolerant but will go summer dormant under dry conditions. It is propagated from root division while dormant ( easily done ) and from seed.
Pharmacology: Podophyllotoxin is known to prevent cell division and is useful in stopping the growth of some kinds of cancers. Recently its been used to make anti-cancerous drugs to treat testicular and other cancers.
Due to chemical compounds and the tasty edible fruits; the Mayapple has potential as a crop in woodland areas. In areas of intense forestry; the Mayapple gives excellent oppertunity to double crop the land.

* photos taken on March 28 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum


* photos taken on April 18 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.





* photos taken on April 17 2010 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 3 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 7 2014 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

* photos taken @ Middle Patuxent, Clarksville, MD on Apr 24 2015

* photos taken on May 6 2015 @ Cypressmeade Park, Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken by Jennifer Anderson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


'Missouri May'
Pink flowers, otherwise identical.

Podophyllum pleianthum ( Chinese Mayapple )
Forming a vigorous, upright clump up to 2 x 3 feet, this rare beautiful rapid rhizome spreading perennial is native to central China and Taiwan. It has very large, thick, leathery, textured, starfish-shaped leaves up to 20 ( rarely 36 ) inches across. The serrate-edged, shallowly 9-lobed leaves, borne on erect stems up to 44 inches in height, are glossy bright green turning to deep green. The starfish-shaped foliage persists late into the summer.
The scarlet-red flowers, up to 2 inches across, are borne early to mid spring.
The fruits are silver.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist, fertile soil.

* photos taken @ Smithsonian Inst, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photo taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA


Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'
A vigorous, rhizomatous perennial, forming a clump up to 1.5 x 2 feet.
The dramatic, large, lobed, umbrella-shaped leaves, are bright green, heavily dotted with bronze except in the middle.
The flowers are huge and red.
Hardy zones 6 to 8, Frost tolerant.

Podophyllum versipelle
A rhizome spreading, clump forming perennial native from Tibet to China.
It has leathery, textured, starfish-shaped leaves up to 24 inches across. The serrate-edged, deep 9-lobed leaves, borne on erect stems up to 4 feet in height, are glossy bright green turning to deep green. In fact it is very similar to Podophyllum pleianthum but has much deeper lobed leaves as well as much smaller flowers borne on long drooping stalks.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist, fertile soil.

* photo taken @ Smithsonian Inst, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

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