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Podophyllum peltatum

Frankly, we may need to rename these to Aprilapple because of climate change. They bloom a lot earlier than they used to these years!

This lovely sweet woodland herb is definitely a harbinger of spring. They open up like little umbrellas, to see them poking out of the ground after a long winter, your body sighs relief. And then… you know that morels aren’t that far off as well.

This is a clonal plant, meaning a dense patch may consist of a single plants with multiple shoots interconnected by a branched rhizome. Good thing it’s clonal because it’s rarely pollinated. Bumblebees are the primarily pollinator but the flowers lack pollen so it’s not that enticing to the bees.

Cool facts: Small mammals and box turtles eat the fragrant fruits and disperse the seeds. The plant is highly poisonous to humans and most other organisms.

Family: Berberidaceae – Barberry family 
Habitat: Rich moist woods and meadows, forest, and river/creek bluffs
Flower: White with yellow center in March-April
Fruit: May-June
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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