Apples in May

Mayapple flower turning into a May Apple (photo by Kate St. John)
Mayapple flower turning into an apple in May (photo by Kate St. John)

I’m taking a break from peregrines today.   Here’s a plant.    🙂

In Schenley Park, mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) bloom in April and fruit in May. The plants must have two leaves to produce a flower because the flower stalk grows from the Y between the leaves.

Here’s what they look like when they bloom.

Mayapple in flower with twin leaves (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
Mayapple in flower with twin leaves (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The fertilized flower transitions from flower to apple in May, as shown in the photo at top.

You can eat a mayapple when it’s ripe but Be Careful!  The entire plant is poisonous and the apple is only edible when ripe!  Find out more and see a mayapple sliced open in this vintage article from 2011: Eating Mayapples



(top photo by Kate St. John. Blooming photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the image to see the original)

2 thoughts on “Apples in May

  1. I have mayapples in my woods but don’t plan on eating any.

    More peregrine stuff: I read that the reintroduced eastern peregrines are descended from only 20 individuals. Is this a large enough founder population to ensure healthy descendants? Are there any plans to increase the size of the breeding population by introducing additional stock?

    1. Margaret, I don’t know how many birds were used during the introduction period. There were several breeding programs so the total may have been larger than 20. I don’t know.
      In any case, it worked and peregrines are thriving. They’ve been taken off the endangered list in the West & in many states. Because of this they will not be bred & reintroduced in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *