may apple emerges again

Another springtime is here, and this stalwart may apple sends up a pair of shiny green leaves. This interesting plant was a gift from a friend (thanks Judy!) a few years back.

This particular may apple lives in a shady place where it gets less than 2 hours of direct sun each day. Last year it bloomed with a small yellow-white flower, but the fruit didn’t set. There is a canopy of bird netting over it to keep out juncoes, squirrels, and rats. Shaped chunks of clothes hanger wire hold the netting up.

May apple is also known as american mandrake. It’s a forest floor plant that can’t seem to tolerate a lot of competition. The fruit is edible in small quantities, but toxic if you eat too much. The juice is said to cure warts. It has gnarly, tuberous underground roots, and spreads that way. A large patch of may apple might all be one single plant.

Here is how a blooming may apple looks in its natural habitat:

Read more about may apples at Wikipedia.

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