5.15.2009

May Apples

May Apple, Podophyllum peltatum
In April you would have found flowers beneath these umbrella-like leaves.
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Now, underneath the foliage, the fruit ripens.
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Supposedly, Eastern Box Turtles find the fruit quite tasty. They are said to be one of the main distributors of the seeds of the May Apple.

6 comments:

Hugh said...

Well I find this charming. Is there any creature more adorable than a box turtle? And it has its own apple. This is one of the best mutualisms ever.

Once I was told (by an interpreter!) that pioneers believed it was bad luck to knock a May apple off the plant, so dogs were forced to run back and forth through the patches. Dogs: bad luck absorbers.

swamp4me said...

Hugh,
Isn't that just like people to make the dogs take the bad luck...
And you are right about box turtles, they are adorable. A quality they share with the toad :)

Robbie said...

as a kid, I ate them. I had read in a book somewhere that the seeds caused digestive problems, so I avoided the seeds. I actually liked the taste of the fruit myself... I had no ill effects from it, but not sure if I would advise eating them or not... I may have just been lucky.
:-)

swamp4me said...

Robbie,
I have never eaten one. The fact that all parts of the plant except for the ripe fruit are poisonous makes me just a little hesitant ;)

Wayne said...

Like Hugh said.

It hadn't occurred to me to be particularly vigilant around our mayapple patches, so thanks for that tidbit. I'll have to keep a particularly sharp eye out for box turtles to document in those areas. I might run across Ernest again.

swamp4me said...

Wayne,
I always get a thrill when I "re-find" one of "my" turtles. Now that we have moved (only about .25 mile as the crow flies)I am looking forward to learning the locals.