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Podophyllum hexandrum - Royle.

Common Name Himalayan May Apple
Family Podophyllaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The leaves and the roots are poisonous[2]. Only the root is poisonous, it is more toxic than P. peltatum[19].
Habitats Scrub forests and alpine meadows[187], usually in humus rich soils, 2000 - 3500 metres in the Himalayas[130, 145]. Very abundant in fir forests in Kashmir[211].
Range E. Asia - Afghanistan to China.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Podophyllum hexandrum Himalayan May Apple


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Andy_king50
Podophyllum hexandrum Himalayan May Apple

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Podophyllum hexandrum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

P. emodi.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw. It must only be eaten when it is fully ripe[1, 2, 61, 105]. Juicy but insipid[130]. The fruit is about 5cm long[200]. The leaves are edible according to one report but this must be treated with some caution, see notes on toxicity above[183].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antirheumatic  Cancer  Cholagogue  Cytostatic  Purgative

The whole plant, but especially the root, is cholagogue, cytostatic and purgative. The plant contains podophyllin, which has an antimiotic effect (it interferes with cell division and can thus prevent the growth of cells). It is, therefore, a possible treatment for cancer, and has been used especially in the treatment of ovarian cancer[46, 51, 57, 64, 65, 124, 244]. However, alopecia is said to be a common side-effect of this treatment[244]. This species contains about twice the quantity of active ingredient than P. peltatum[211]. The roots contain several important anti-cancer lignans, including podophyllin and berberine[218]. The roots are also antirheumatic[218]. The root is harvested in the autumn and either dried for later use or the resin is extracted[238]. This plant is highly poisonous and should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[238]. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238].

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Other Uses

A medicinal resin is obtained from the plant. It is extracted with alcohol[64].

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist peaty soil and filtered light or shade[111, 187]. Grows well in a moist open woodland[28, 31, 200]. Hardy to about -20°c[187], it takes some years to become established[124] but is very long lived in a suitable habitat[130]. Young leaves may be damaged by late frosts but otherwise the plants are quite hardy[130]. Over collection of the plant from the wild is becomimg a cause for concern as local populations are being endangered[272]. Young plants only produce one leaf each year, older plants have 2 or 3 leaves each year[211]. Plants in this genus have excited quite a lot of interest for the compounds found in their roots which have been shown to have anti-cancer activity[124]. There are various research projects under way (as of 1990)[124]. The sub-species P. hexandrum chinense. Wall. has larger flowers and more deeply divided leaves[187].

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in a cold frame in early spring. The seed germinates in 1 - 4 months at 15°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a shady part of the greenhouse for at least 2 growing seasons. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the winter when the plants are dormant. Division in March/April[111].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Podophyllum aurantiocaule 22
Podophyllum peltatumAmerican Mandrake, Mayapple, Ground Lemon, Mandrake, Mayapple24
Podophyllum pleianthum 23
Podophyllum versipelle 23

 

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Expert comment

Author

Royle.

Botanical References

51200

Links / References

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Readers comment

Dr. patani   Sat May 13 2006

can we get the producers/manufacturers of Podophyllum peltatum root from the regions of America?

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