DEADLY MAY APPLES
These lovely little umbrellas
that cover the forest floor in Spring
are the toxic American mandrake,
commonly known as "may apples."
Mandrake is the famous herb
of legends and sorcerers.
The roots are poisonous.
The leaves are poisonous.
The buds and flowers are poisonous.
But the ripe fruit (come June)
is a sweet, delicious and edible treat.
Native Americans boiled its lethal roots,
and used its broth to cure stomach ache.
And in Shakespeare's MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM,
mandrake was used to make drops
to put on eye lids to produce
hallucinating effect for deception.
(Such an attractive little plant.)