Native to the Eastern United States and Canada, Map Apples usually grow in bunches from a single rhizome. Map Apples have leaves that appear in early April looking like small umbrellas. The stalk of the plant forks into two sections. Each section has broad leaves shaped somewhat like duck feet. The leaves are a medium green color. Plants tend to look like a grove of tiny palm trees in the forest. Speckles of yellow appear when the plant ripens.
The May Apple produces one flower in the fork of the plant in late April. This white flower with a yellow center will become the fruit of the May Apple. Green and egg-shaped, this fruit will ripen in late July. Some people refer to this plant as a 'ground lemon' due to the shape and color of the ripe fruit. The fruit is ready to eat when it's soft and yellow. The plant leaves will droop. This is a sign the fruit is ready.
The fruit is edible. The seeds are not. Tasting exotic and unique, many people eat the fruit raw. It can also be cooked. Jellies are a popular way to use the fruit of the May Apple. The juice is also used to add a tropical flavor to lemonade