Mayapple LeafEver since I was little and found huge patches of these flowers at Girl Scout Camp, I have been captivated by them.  I imagined myself the size of a fairy living underneath them, where they would form a huge palm tree forest above my head.  I don’t think I ever noticed the flowers in May or the fruit in August when I was a kid.  I walked above them and never saw what was happening beneath the giant umbrella-leaves.

Mayapple Range MapOver the last few years, I’ve become very fond of the flower that is produced by a mature plant.  Mature plants will sprout two of these enormous leaves and the flower will dangle from a separate stem between them.  A fruit may set and ripen by August or so.

Mayapple Blossom in May  Mayapple Fruit in August

On Saturday, I picked up a copy of Nature Photographer Magazine.  It contained an article by Brien Szabo called “My Summer Project” which can also be seen at his website here.  The article inspired me to take advantage of Saturday’s “magic hour” of light and take way too many pictures of Mayapple Blossoms.  I’ve numbered them, so you can vote for your favorite:

Mayapple Flower Closeup 7

Mayapple Abstract 2

Mayapple Flower Closeup 5

Mayapple Abstract 1

Mayapple Flower Closeup 2

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is also known as American Mandrake.  The ripe fruit is edible and can be eaten raw or made into jelly BUT THE GREEN FRUIT, LEAVES, ROOTS AND SEEDS ARE TOXIC, so be careful!