What isn’t blooming in my Wisconsin garden right now? Seriously, because of the cool weather through April, plants that normally wouldn’t peak and bloom at the same time are all popping out at the same time. In any year it would be difficult to pick a plant of the month in southern
in May. This year, it’s even tougher. Wisconsin
But for some reason, this year the Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum L.) has captured my attention. The plants were so cute when they popped out of the ground two weeks ago:
Now the Mayapples, sometimes called American Mandrake or Umbrella Plant, are thriving in the woods out back in a rather large patch:
Mayapple has a fascinating lifecycle:
- In early to mid-spring, the miniature umbrellas poke through the forest leaf mulch. They look like little buttons from the top. The umbrellas unfurl a few days later and stretch out to form a horizontal shade for the forest understory.
- In mid- to late spring, the leaf and stem split in half, and white flowers form from small green buds.
- In the summer, the fruits form and slowly grow into green apple-like fruits.
- In late summer, they ripen to a yellowish tint, at which point they are edible, although most sources say to eat carefully and sparingly. All other parts of the plant are toxic, including the seeds.
- In fall, red berries form as the plants die back.
For more information about Mayapples, check out these articles and websites:
Two other plants just hitting their stride in the garden are Trillium grandiflorum:
And Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the Pulpit):
But these photos were taken yesterday and the way things are growing now, the garden looks different every time you look…