Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Deploying Mayapples

Good ol’ Podophyllum peltatum, a sure sign of spring and of no other time. Come summer, they go dormant and disappear. So just as snowflakes are confined to wintertime, this is the time for mayapples.

They form these lovely colonies on the forest floor. When you’re hiking and come upon a patch of them, it can feel like you’ve suddenly arrived in Munchkinland.

Did you know that two-leaved Mayapples are the only ones that bloom and bear fruit? Yes. The inflorescence develops in the axil of the two leaves, where the stem splits. The single-leaved plants don’t have flowers or fruits—maybe next year, for them, when their rhizomes are more developed.

I’m not going to go on about the flowers or fruits at this point—I intend to post more pictures, soon, of those parts. For now, I’m just thrilled to share some photographs of deployment with you.

They poke out of the ground like smooth little mushrooms. The shiny green leaves are smooth against the stem and look like dragon wings. Then the leaf or leaves (as the case may be) unfurl and open up like umbrellas.

No comments: