Podophyllum peltatum

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Mayapple
PoisonousMayApple099.jpg
Mayapple in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Podophyllum
Species: P. peltatum
Binomial name
Podophyllum peltatum
L.

Podophyllum peltatum, commonly called Mayapple, or May Apple,[1] (or hogapple, Indian apple, mayflower, umbrella plant, wild lemon (flavor of the fruit), wild mandrake, American mandrake (shape of rhizomes) or "devil's apple" (used for Solanum linnaeanum elsewhere)), is a herbaceous perennial plant in the family Berberidaceae, native to deciduous forests in of eastern North America.[2] Like many other spring ephemerals, it emerges from below ground before the canopy of the forest opens, and then slowly withers later in the summer; the foliage is, however, somewhat more long-lived than other spring ephemerals such as Trillium.

The stems grow to 30–40 cm (about 12-15 inches) tall, with 2 or occasionally 3 palmately lobed leaves up to 20–30 cm (about 8-12 inches) diameter with 5-9 deeply cut lobes on reproductive individuals, or one peltate (umbrella-like) leaf on sterile individuals. The single secund white flower 3–5 cm (1-2 inches) diameter, with six (rarely up to nine) petals, is produced at the axil of the two leaves (the upper two in a three-leaved plant); the flower matures into a yellow-greenish fruit 2–5 cm long.[3] The plant is widespread and appears in clonal colonies in open mesic woodlands. Individual shoots are often connected by systems of thick rhizomes.[1] As with many kinds of wild plants, the flower provides sexual reproduction while the rhizome provides asexual reproduction.[4] The former provides long distance dispersal, while the latter allows the formation of dense circular clones. There are costs to producing flowers, since the production of a flower and fruit reduces the probability that the plant will survive, or flower, in following years.[5]

Many species of plants have mycorrhizae to assist with nutrient uptake in infertile conditions.[4] Mayapple plants are considered obligately dependent upon such mycorrhizae, although it may also be facultatively dependent upon rhizome age and soil nutrient levels.[6] Plants are commonly found infected by the rust Puccinia podophylli, appearing as honeycomb-patterned orange colonies under the leaves, and yellowish lesions on the upper surface.[7]

Though the common name is mayapple,[8] it is the flower that appears in early May, not the "apple". The fruit or "apple" is produced early summer and ripens later in summer.

Toxicity[edit]

The ripened fruit is edible in little amounts, though when consumed in large amounts the fruit is poisonous. The rhizome, foliage and roots are also poisonous.[9] Mayapple contains podophyllotoxin,[10] which is highly toxic if consumed, but can be used as a topical medicine.

Medicinal use[edit]

Mayapple has been used by American Indians as an emetic, cathartic, and antihelmintic agent.[citation needed] They also boiled the poisonous root, and used the water to cure stomach aches.[citation needed] The rhizome of the mayapple has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, originally by indigenous inhabitants and later by other settlers.[3]

Mayapple can be also used topically for warts, and two of its derivatives, etoposide and teniposide, have shown promise in treating some malignant neoplasms.[11][12]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gleason, H.A. 1968. The New Britton and Brown Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Vol. 2. Hafner, New York. 655 p., p. 188.
  2. ^ "Podophyllum peltatum". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  3. ^ a b Fondren, Brian T. "Mayapple". Ethnobotanical leaflets. Retrieved 2006-06-03. 
  4. ^ a b Keddy, P.A. 2007. Plants and Vegetation: Origins, Processes, Consequences. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 666 p.
  5. ^ Sohn, J.J. and D. Policansky. 1977. The Costs of Reproduction in the Mayapple Podophyllum Peltatum (Berberidaceae). Ecology 58:1366–1374. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1935088
  6. ^ Watson, M.A. and five others. 2001. The developmental ecology of mycorrhizal associations in mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum, Berberidaceae. Evolutionary Ecology 15: 425-442.
  7. ^ "Puccinia podophylli Schwein. Mayapple rust". Iowa State University, Ada Hayden Herbarium (ISC). Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  8. ^ Podophyllum peltatum at USDA PLANTS Database
  9. ^ Blanchan, Neltje (2002). Wild Flowers: An Aid to Knowledge of our Wild Flowers and their Insect Visitors. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. 
  10. ^ Moraes, R.M., H. Lata, E. Bedir, M. Maqbool, and K. Cushman. 2002. On American Mayapple as practical source of podophyllotoxin p. 527–532. In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.), Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
  11. ^ Brunton LL et al. Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, chapter: 61. Cytotoxic agents/Epipodophyllotoxins Twelfth Edition ISBN 978-0-07-162442-8
  12. ^ Lewis, W.H. and M.P.F. Elvin-Lewis. 1977. Medical Botany. Plants Affecting Man's Health. Wiley, New York. 515 p. p. 123-124.

External links[edit]