MY NATURE RUN
I am an avid runner. Usually my
routes take me through neighborhoods and parks. I like running through trails
in parks to see whatís growing in the woodland areas. Itís a good horticultural
lesson for me. Recently I ran across one woodland plant that is waking up from
its winter slumber.
It is the Mayapple (Podophyllum
peltatum). It is a native woodland plant that grows best in zones three to
eight. This herbaceous perennial likes to grow in colonies in deciduous forest
and along riverbanks and roadsides. It grows by way of rhizomes. Rhizomes are
underground stems. Once the plant starts to grow, the stem is topped with an
umbrella-like leaf that has five to nine lobes.
Mayapples emerge in the early
spring before leaves are produced on trees. Once temperatures begin to rise the
plant goes dormant by mid-summer. The plant does produce a white rose-colored
flower into May. If the plant is pollinated properly, it will produce a fruit
which can be used in jams and jellies.
Gardeners like this plant because
of its attractive foliage and flowers. This plant does well in woodland gardens
or native plant gardens. Mayapples need partial or full shade to thrive. They
grow best in rich, well-drained soils that contain an abundance of organic
matter. This plant has the ability to self-seed under optimum growing
conditions. It has no major insect or disease problems. Again, Mayapples do go
dormant in the summer.
I like Mayapples because of their
umbrella-like growth. They are beautiful plants that cover the forest floors of
parks throughout this area. They are a welcomed sight of spring!
During these times of
uncertainty, you can stay active working in your garden. Think about what you
would like to plant this spring, mulch your trees and shrubs and inspect your
landscape for insect pests and diseases. Walk or jog around your neighborhood
to see what others have growing in their landscapes. That is what I enjoy
doing! Be safe out there.