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Mayapple

(Podophyllum peltatum)

 

Other Names:

American Mandrake

Range:

Family:

Berberidaceae Barberry family

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

Perennial herbaceous

Height:

Up to 18 in tall.

Leaves:

Two large deeply lobed umbrella-like leaves.

Stem/Trunk:

Single branched stem

Root:

A system of horizontal rhizomes and tubers will blanket an area.

Flower:

Season:

Early Spring

Appearance:

 A single small white waxy flower is borne suspended from the branch of the stem.

Seed/Fruit:

In late spring a single globe to egg shaped fruit grows.

Miscellaneous characteristics:

It is important to note that until the fruit has ripened and turned yellow, it is mildly toxic.

Habitat:

Moist lush woodlands

Parts Used:

Fruit, Root (Medicinal)

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

The ripe fruit can be eaten raw, cooked, or made into a jam or jelly. It can also be used to make a lemonade-like drink.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

Native Americans and early settlers used the root as a strong purgative, "liver cleaner", emetic, and worm expeller. Also used to treat jaundice, constipation, hepatitis, fevers, and syphilis. Also used to treat genital warts, herpes, influenza, and vaccinia viruses. The compound Podophyllotoxin has anti-cancer and antimalarial activity. There are two derivatives that are used in chemotherapy against several types of cancer. Etoposide is used in combination with other compounds to treat testicular cancer, and as a primary treatment for small cell lung cancer. Also used to treat various forms of leukemia.

Medicinal Actions:

Anthelmintic, Antimalarial, Antineoplastic, Cathartic, Emetic

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield