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All parts (except ripe fruit) are poisonouis if ingested



Odd-looking yet striking plants, these herbaceous barberry relatives grow from thick underground rhizomes that send up stalks crowned with large, umbrella-shaped, deeply lobed leaves. Shoots with a single leaf are flowerless; those with two leaves bear a single 2-in.-wide flower (set between the leaves) in mid- to late spring. Blooms are followed by juicy, 2-in. berries; these are edible when fully ripe (poisonous until that stage) but can have a powerful laxative effect. Make attractive, slowly spreading deciduous groundcovers for shady areas with moist, organically enriched soil.

Podophyllum hexandrum
Podophyllum hexandrum

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Podophyllum hexandrum

From the Himalayas and western China. Grows to 2–2 1/2 ft. tall and 1 1/2–2 ft. wide. Dark green, brown-mottled leaves to 10 in. wide are divided into three or five lobes; each lobe is further divided. White or pink flowers are followed by bright red berries.

Podophyllum peltatum

From eastern North America. Grows to 1–1 1/2 ft. tall and 1 ft. wide. Foliage is bronze when new; mature leaves are shiny dark green, to 1 ft. wide, divided into five to nine lobes. White flowers are followed by bright yellow berries. Spreads fairly fast in its preferred rich, moist soil. Dies back completely in late summer.


Grows up to 18 in. tall and wide with variegated and blotched leaves more than a foot wide. Deep burgundy flowers hang in clusters beneath leaves in summer.

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