MAYAPPLE Podophyllum peltatum

Many of the resolutions we make focus on family, the COVID spread, economy, national and global harmony. Resolutions are based on hopes: hopes that our sons and daughters will be kept from harm’s way; that we can relate in mutual ways to people whose backgrounds differ from ours; that we become more sympathetic of their struggles in America. After all, most of us enjoy the delightful taste of their cuisine. If you have forgotten, may I remind you that the only Native Americans are not immigrants.

May the resolutions we have made aid in helping peace to be achieved soon, and that it will be world-wide; and may our national economy be robust without the aid of a war effort.

The Christmas season we are completing was foretold in Isaiah. In chapter 9, verse 6, we read, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shal be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The wildflower I have selected today has an interesting heritage that highlights our historic immigration status.

MAYAPPLE Podophyllum peltatumMayapple is native to North America and introduced to the early settlers by the Native Americans. It is the only species in the Barberry Family that grows this far south. Blue cohosh and American barberry, both present in the North Georgia mountains, are kin. Neither of them inhabit the East Metro area.

Each Mayapple plant has only one bloom, a nodding white flower that emerges in the split of the stem between two very large deeply lobed umbrella like leaves, as pictured. The flower is about 2 inches in diameter, somewhat larger than the true apple blossom.

The name Mayapple is associated with the time of its appearance and its fragrance that is similar to the apple blossom. There are six to nine waxy white petals, and generally, there are twice as many stamens as there are petals.

The plant ranges in height from 12 to 22 inches. The two very large leaves, each about 12 inches wide, shield the bloom as pictured. Mayapples bloom from April to June and require rich woodland soils in damp shady clearings. They often grow in large colonies. A good example of a colony can be observed on the lowest loop of the watershed trail at Panola Park.

The fruits, which appear in August and September, are large lemon-shaped berries that are occasionally gathered to make jelly. CAUTION, the unripened fruit is poisonous, as are the roots and leaves; nevertheless, two modern drugs are derived from Mayapple.

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Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. To purchase a two-volume set of books featuring his wildflower columns, visit The Sketching Pad in Olde Town Conyers, or call 770-929-3697 or text 404-824-3697. Email him at


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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