Saturday, May 15, 2010
It actually took me quite some time before I found the name of this plant. I began to notice the plants growing in the middle of the dark forest last year. I watched as so many of them began to sprout up last spring. They look so distinctive that I soon became very interested in them.
But wait. I've been saying they are just plants, and implying that they're not flowers. Well, I didn't think they were flowers until about a week ago. One day I noticed these buds on the underside of the big leaves of the plants. I took this picture for my records. Then the very next time I was out the buds had all erupted into the beautiful white flowers like you see at the top.
These plants clearly don't need a lot of light, and neither do the flowers. The flowers grow under these big leaves, and they droop down to point partially toward the ground. I had to get on my knees to take that first picture of the flower. I don't really like doing that. I like nature but I don't like getting my knees dirty.
Now you may be wondering what's up with the name of the plant. Why is it called Mayapple? For one thing, it is known to grow in the month of May. And that leads me to the next part of the name, the part with the apple in it. What apple would that be? I'm glad you asked. There is actually a small yellow fruit that grows from the flower a little bit later. That's where the name comes from. The fruit is edible, but the rest of the plant is toxic.
I'm still not very good at identifying plants, but I can at least say that I'm learning very fast. It helps a lot when I have some of you who know about these things, and when the internet is such a rich source of information. All I had to do to identify these this time was to describe them the best I could in a Google search. I found them handily. It seems mayapple is a very well known plant.
I'll have to revisit the mayapple plant when the fruit grows on them. I'll share a bit more technical information when that time comes. But for now, I'll just share the attractive flowers above with you.