Mayapple is a forest floor plant that is found throughout the eastern United States and the southern part of Ontario. It is toxic for human consumption with the exception of ripe fruit. Unripe fruit is still toxic. It has a flower that can be difficult to see from the human eye level and is overall a relatively unassuming plant to most people. However, it fills a critical niche in forest floor ecosystems as food source for many animals and an important part of soil stability.
The Mayapple emerges from the ground in early spring and produces flowers in late spring. By the end of the summer, the entire above ground structure is dying back and there is no visible presence of the plant during the fall and winter. This ends up giving many people the impression of it being an annual plant. In fact, it will spread thick root networks that live over the winter and will send up new shoots in the spring. A single colony, once established, can live for an exceptionally long time.

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