Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple, Mandrake Root)
"Mayapple" refers to the fruit (apple) that appears in early summer and ripens at a later date; the two-inch white flower that is tucked underneath the leaves is actually what appears in May. The shiny leaves, resembling large umbrellas, of this native perennial wildflower make a beautiful sheltering, rather than hugging, ground cover in the woodland garden. Although the ripened "fruit" of "Mayapple" is considered edible, and the rhizomes were used medicinally by Native Americans, all parts of the plant are generally considered poisonous. Growing to about 12 inches, Podophyllum peltatum "May Apple" will die back (returning in the spring) in locations with too much sun and soil that is too dry. Zones 3-8.