Sunday, March 21, 2010

American Mandrake

What self-respecting HAUNTED GARDEN wouldn't have MANDRAKE in it??

Here in the WildWoods, there are huge patches of American Mandrake. It is also known by the names Mayapple, Devil's Apple, or Indian Apple. It is a perennial native herb which grows in the moist, rich soils of woods, thickets, and pastures in Eastern North America - southern Maine to Florida and as far west as Texas and Minnesota. American Mandrake prefers deep shade and spreads by a creeping rhizome. It can be cultivated by sowing seeds in Autumn or transplanting seedlings in the Spring. 

The May Apple grows to a height of 18 inches with a stem that resembles an umbrella. The large, white blooms grow right in between the leaves and will appear in April to May. The fruit ripens in early summer and will be crab-apple size. 
American Mandrake is also known as the Witch's Umbrella and was thought to be employed by them as a poison. Which is not far from the truth as the roots of this plant are quite toxic!! I have not 'yanked' any of these plants from the ground to see if their screams are ear piercing or would render a person insane - like it's English Cousin.


  1. I'm lucky to have these magical plants in our woods. I don't dare pull them out I too wouldn't want to hear them scream!

  2. I tried to grow mandrake in my garden and it didn't survive. It might have received too much sun, so maybe I'll try it again in a shadier spot.

  3. I don't have any in my garden. I wonder how it would like the NW. Going to add it to my shopping list.


  4. I love these.... they look like a flower I have growing in our wooded area in the summer. Great to f ind your blog. I can't wait to return. IF you stop by my blog I can add you to my list of friends so I can return easier to your site!

    Happy Spring Gardening from Bren in
    Bren at the BGgarden

  5. I grew these quite successfully in my natural habitat garden where I lived before, and they spread on their own, just like they do in the woods. I loved seeing that little "May Apple" form from their single bloom.
    Thanks for posting this Jeanne!

  6. I love seeing these growing so huge. My circle sisters have tried growing them in pots and babying them and one woman was able to get a few cool roots from. I didn't realize they could get that big though and I would totally run through and pull a few up! Or maybe bring my dog and he could do it. ;)