The blooms have dropped off most of the Mayapples by now, leaving its fruit to grow. While these apples can be hard to see below the parasol of the leaves, they are right at eye level for their most important consumer, the box turtle.
|Box turtle eating road kill, usually a vegetarian - Brian Edmond|
|Feast for a turtle - Mark Bower|
Mayapples benefit from a partnership with box turtles. They require transportation of their seeds to spread, something that the box turtle is good at if you aren't in any hurry.
"Mayapple seeds ingested by turtles have about a 38% germination rate, whereas undigested seeds only have an 8.5% success rate. Box turtles, which are the Mayapple’s main seed distributors, are able to reduce the thickness of the seed coat allowing germination to take place more easily." NEAQThe toxin in Mayapples is podophyllotoxin, an active ingredient in compounds used to treat some types of warts. In the past we used podophyllin to treat plantar warts on the soles of the feet. I have never found these warts on box turtles, although they are hard to examine Only the turtle knows.
|Bright colored and looking for something other than food|