Podophyllum peltatum L.

mandrake, May-apple

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

May-apple is distributed across the eastern United States, and reaches the northern limit of its distribution in New England, where it is rare. Its conservation is complicated by the fact that some populations are introduced. The ripe fruit is edible, but the rest of the plant is toxic. Some compounds that are found in the roots have been shown to have anti-tumor properties, and a derivitive of one of these compounds is used to treat some cancers.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forest edges, forests, meadows and fields, shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
  • pink to red
  • white
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
  • opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
  • there are seven or more petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are six petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
  • 12
  • 13 or more
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is fleshy
Fruit length
35–55 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther attachment
    the anther is attached by its base to the filament
    Anther color
    the anthers show no hint of a pink, reddish or purplish tint
    Anther length
    5–8 mm
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Anther tube length
    0 mm
    Calyx growth after flowering
    the calyx does not grow to cover or partially cover the fruit
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpel hairs
    the carpels have no hairs
    Carpels fused
    the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    Cilia on petals
    the petal margins do not have cilia
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament length
    3–5 mm
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower appearance
    the flowers appear after the leaves have appeared
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary, and lacks a hypanthium
    Flower diameter
    30–50 mm
    Flower length
    30–55 mm
    Flower number
    1
    Flower orientation
    the flower bends downwards or hangs downwards
    Flower petal color
    • pink to red
    • white
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    • the style is knob-like at the tip, and unbranched
    • the style is lobed at the tip, and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has no hairs on it
    Hairs on inflorescence
    the axis of the inflorescence has no hairs on it
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Hypanthium length
    0 mm
    Inflorescence one-sided
    • NA
    • the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Length of flower stalk
    15–60 mm
    Length of peduncle
    15–60 mm
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    0
    Number of carpels
    1
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    • there are seven or more petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are six petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    2
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Perianth shape
    the perianth is rotate (platter-shaped, the corolla flattened, circular, with nearly horizontally spreading lobes)
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    • pink to red
    • white
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows gradually or does not narrow at the base
    Petal folding in bud
    the petals in bud are arranged in a cycle with edges overlapping like roof shingles (imbricate)
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal glandular dots or scales
    no
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal length
    15–35 mm
    Petal length relative to sepals
    the petals are longer than the sepals
    Petal nectaries
    the petals have at least one nectary
    Petal number
    6–9
    Petal shape
    the petal outline is obovate (roughly egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Petal tip shape
    the petal tip is rounded
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Petal width
    10–25 mm
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal auricles
    the sepals have no auricles
    Sepal cilia
    the sepals do not have cilia
    Sepal color
    • green to brown
    • white
    Sepal features
    the sepals do not have any of the mentioned special features
    Sepal length
    10–18 mm
    Sepal number
    6
    Sepal relative length
    NA
    Sepal shape
    the sepal outline is roughly circular, as wide as long
    Sepal texture
    the sepals are either very thin but flexible, like a membrane, or they are leaf-like in texture
    Sepal tip shape
    the sepal tip is rounded
    Sepal uniformity
    all the sepals are about the same size
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Spur number
    NA
    Stamen appendages
    stamen appendages are absent
    Stamen attachment
    the stamens are not attached to the petals or tepals
    Stamen length
    8–13 mm
    Stamen lengths differ
    the stamens are all approximately the same length
    Stamen morphology
    the stamens within each cycle are the same
    Stamen number
    • 12
    • 13 or more
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamen relative length
    anything
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Stigma length
    3–6 mm
    Stigma position
    the stigmas are positioned at the tip of the style
    Style length
    1–2 mm
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Style relative length
    NA
    Surface of ovary
    the ovary surface has no points, bumps or wrinkles
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    • orange
    • other
    • red
    • yellow
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    NA
    Carpel beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    35–55 mm
    Fruit length relative to sepals
    NA
    Fruit length to width ratio
    1.4–1.8
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit shape
    • the fruit is ellipsoid (widest in the middle and tapering to each end)
    • the fruit is ovoid (egg-shaped)
    Fruit stalk orientation
    the fruits curve or droop downwards
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is fleshy
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a berry (fleshy, with the wall enclosing one or more sections, with two or more seeds)
    Fruit width
    20–40 mm
    Hair type on fruit
    NA
    Hairs on fruit
    the fruits are not hairy
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    the ripe berries are mostly one color without spots or streaks
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Placenta arrangement
    marginal
    Relative fruit length
    0
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Seed length
    6–8 mm
    Seed number
    30–50
    Seed relative length
    the seed is longer than it is wide
    Seeds comose
    no hairs
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant does not have stolons
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Bracteole edges
    NA
    Bracteole length
    0 mm
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracteole shape
    NA
    Bracteoles
    there are no bracteoles on the plant
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Floral bract texture
    the floral bracts are green, with a leaf-like texture
    Floral bracts
    • the flower does not have bracts
    • the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Hairs on leaf stalk
    • the petiole has hairs on it
    • the petiole has no hairs on it
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    no
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    Leaf blade flatness
    • the edges of the leaf are curled under
    • the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade has simple hairs with no glands, and not tangled or wooly
    Leaf blade length
    60–380 mm
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    the major veins radiate out from one point at the base
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    • the leaf blade is reniform (kidney-shaped; wider than long)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is herbaceous (has a leafy texture)
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the major veins of the leaf blade branch, but do not rejoin
    Leaf blade veins
    NA
    Leaf blade width
    100–400 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf hair orientation
    the hairs are standing up straight or curved in different directions
    Leaf sheath length
    0 mm
    Leaf shiny
    the upper side of the leaf is dull or slightly shiny
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the center of the leaf blade (like an umbrella), or somewhere between the edge and the center
    Leaf stalk base
    the petiole base is narrow where it attaches to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    50–150 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    • the leaf blade margin has outward-pointing teeth
    • the leaf has lobes that radiate from the base, somewhat like a hand
    Leaf tip
    the tip of the leaf blade is rounded, with no point
    Leaf tufts in axils
    there are no clusters of smaller leaves growing out of axils
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf types
    • NA
    • There is a gradual change in appearance of the leaves from the base (or near the base) of the plant to those from further up on the stem, with leaves progressively changing as one moves higher on the stem (often becoming shorter, or less toothed/lobed, and/or with shorter petioles).
    Leaf variation
    • the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    • the lower leaves are larger, toothier, and/or on longer stalks than the upper leaves
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    • there are two leaves per node along the stem
    • there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule edges
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf stalk
    NA
    Stipule length
    0 mm
    Stipule shape
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Direction of stem hairs
    NA
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles so that it is roughly circular
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Length of hairs between stem nodes
    0 mm
    Plant height
    20–60 cm
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem hair distribution
    NA
    Stem nodes swollen
    the stem is not swollen at the nodes
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem roughness between nodes
    the stem does not feel rough
    Stem spacing
    the plant is solitary, or a few plants are growing together
    Stem succulence
    the stems are not succulent
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
unrankable (S-rank: SU)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR), #NAME? (code: #NAME?)
New Hampshire
unrankable (S-rank: SU), Ind (code: Ind)
Vermont
extremely rare (S-rank: S1)

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Family

Berberidaceae

Genus

Podophyllum

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Podophyllum peltatum L. nC

May-apple. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Deciduous forests, fields, along fence rows and stone walls, stream banks, forest borders. Records of this plant in New England appear to be a mixture of native and introduced occurrences. Native occurrences appear restricted to Litchfield County, CT, Berkshire County, MA, and Addison and Bennington Counties, VT; however, those counties also contain populations that are clearly naturalized. Because it is sometimes difficult to determine which populations that are truly native, conservation of this species is complicated.