This is very charming plant if used in the right way. In late spring each plant sends up what look like two little, folded-up beach umbrellas; these unfold as two broad, umbrellas like leaves under which you have to peek to see the small white or pinkish flowers. But I like them just for the foliage; an established clump forms a large mat that is a sea of umbrellas all summer long. In May a small, yellow fruit (the “apple”) forms where the flowers were. You can eat the fruit but don’t ever eat the roots or leaves both are poisonous and even touching the roots can cause a rash. The other name for the plant is “wild man-drake.”

Naturally growing in open, damp, deciduous woods, May apple likes a rich, moist soil and a fairly acid pH. It makes an excellent ground cover for shaded or semi shaded sites. Plant or divide the rhizomes in fall, leaving at least one bud on each division and spreading out the rhizomes 1 inch below soil level.May_apple-1 May apple 27 April 2010

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