by Carl Strang
In recent winters I have been sharing photos of plants in that season. The featured species have been only a sample of those growing at Mayslake Forest Preserve, however, and I have begun to look at some of the ones that disappear before winter’s arrival. One example is the mayapple.
This colonial plant flowers in spring and produces fruits in late spring that are consumed by raccoons and other mammals which then disperse the seeds. In a wet year the leaves may then show signs of the mayapple rust, Puccinia podophylli.
By early July the leaves, especially well shaded ones, are beginning to senesce.
In early August some green leaves still may be found, but many have dried.
By early October, all the mayapple tops are reduced to dried stalks lying flat on the ground.
By winter, one would be hard pressed to recognize any trace of this plant in the leaf litter. The roots are ready, though, to send up new shoots when spring rolls around again.