It won't be long before the coiled up leaves of Mayapple start emerging through the soil. A wonderful spring emergence, Mayapples are often found in large clusters in woodlands.
As the two oppositely arranged leaves unfurl, they open up into an umbrella like form creating a shaded spot for the flower underneath to emerge.
The two leaves are large, 6-8" across and lobed. They are thick and almost tacky to the touch.
A 1-2" wide white flower opens in May, with 6 or more petals. It hangs downwards from the junction. The resulting fruit 'apple', is an enlarged yellow pod (berry) with many seeds.
Mayapples like mesic woodlands in part to shade. They're a great plant to have come up around early flowering ephemerals such as Hepatica or False Rue Anemone. They do spread by rhizomes and will form a loose cluster.
They are native to eastern North America. See map below for range.
|Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP).|
2011. North American Plant Atlas. Chapel Hill, N.C.