Mayapple gets its name from the flowers reminiscent of apple blossoms and typically appear during May. The flowers also give way to a single, greenish fruit with an immature apple-like appearance, although, when ripe, the fruit turns a lovely golden yellow and is sometimes tinged with pink or purple come late summer.
The fruit is edible, although it is rather bland. It can be used in jellies or preserves.
Note that all OTHER parts of Mayapple contain podophyllotoxin, which is highly toxic if consumed. Only the fruit is non-toxic.
The genus name Podophyllum is derived from the Greek word ‘podos’ for “foot” and ‘phyllon’ for “leaf”. The specific epithet, peltatum comes from the Latin word meaning “shield-shaped” for its rounded leaves which are centrally attached to the petiole.