Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Mayapple - Podophyllum peltatum   L.
Members of Berberidaceae:
Only member of Podophyllum in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Ranunculales » Family Berberidaceae
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DistributionNearly throughout the state, but likely absent from a few far eastern counties. The gap in the central Coastal Plain is likely somewhat of an artifact of collecting, but could also reflect scarcity of high-pH floodplains.

This is a very widespread Eastern species, ranging from eastern Canada south to the FL Panhandle and eastern TX.
AbundanceCommon and widespread throughout the Mountains and Piedmont; fairly common to locally common in the northern Coastal Plain, and fairly common in the central and southern Coastal Plain. Likely absent in the far eastern counties.
HabitatThis is a species of rich to moist hardwood or mixed forests, not requiring high pH soil, but usually found in slightly acidic soils. It grows in bottomland forests and on wooded slopes, in many natural communities.
PhenologyBlooms in March and April, and fruits in May and June.
IdentificationThis is a very familiar spring wildflower, seen on a great number of forest walks at that season. This herb grows to about 10-12 inches tall, with one or two leaves -- two in fertile plants. These two leaves branch off midway up the stem, angled upward; they have thick petioles about 4-5 inches long. The blade is fan-shaped, peltate (petiole not connected to the base but inward from the base), and deeply cut into 5-9 broad segments. The entire blade is about 5-6 inches across, always arranged horizontally, parallel to the ground, as if to shade the flower beneath the leaves. The flower is solitary and is located in the "axil" where the two leaves diverge. The white flower consists of 6-9 thick, waxy white petals, with a spread of 1.5-2 inches across. Quite a few plants do not flower in a given year. A month or two after flowering, a large yellow berry is present; it is ovoid and about 1.5 inches long. The species often grows in very large stands. As the only other member of the genus occurs in eastern Asia, there is no other similar confusing species.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)American Mandrake
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorriePee Dee NWR, Brown Creek floodplain, April 2007. AnsonPhoto_natural
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