Mayapples. I picked the photograph above because it shows the Mayapple in several stage; from just pushing through the earth, beginning to unfurl, and then opening like little green parasols. You can also see the small, green, sweet (but unripe) fruit that will grow a bit larger and then ripen in about a week or two. The only thing missing from this photo are the Mayapple blossoms, which haven’t emerged yet.
I didn’t plant these hardy woodland perennials, but they have always fascinated me because aside from their ripe fruit, they are highly poisonous. However, they do thrive in our moist, moderately acidic soil and the box turtle, which often frequent our land, can eat the fruit and disperse the seeds. I’ve always wanted to transplant a few of my Mayapple plants to a new location, but doing so requires one to divide the rhizomes, which can also be toxic enough to cause a rash when handled. So every year this tiny patch of Mayapple poke through the ground at the end of our driveway, blossom for a few weeks, then vanish beneath the soil as suddenly as they appeared. I’ve never done anything to improve their site or growing conditions and in fact, I often forget they live there until they reappear. And yet, every single year these plants continue to show up without fail. There’s something so cool about that! I’ve always wondered if someone planted this little roadside patch of perennials or if a passing turtle created it, but I guess I’ll never know. I just get to sit back and enjoy the show!
Oh and for what it’s worth, some people may also know this flower as the Mandrake, which is mentioned in the Bible.