5. Podophyllum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 505. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 22, 1754.
[Greek podos, foot, and phyllon leaf]
Lisa O'Rourke George
Herbs , perennial, deciduous, 2-6 dm, glabrous to sparsely pubescent. Rhizomes short to elongate, formed of distinct annual increments, producing 1 leaf or flowering shoot per year. Aerial stems present. Leaves simple, variously parted. Leaves of nonflowering shoot 1, basal; petiole centrally attached, erect, stemlike, blade orbiculate, peltate. Leaves of flowering shoots (0-)2(-3), cauline, alternate or nearly opposite; petiole attached near margin, blade reniform-orbiculate, peltate. Leaf blades 10-38 cm, parts entire or lobed, margins entire or serrate; venation palmate. Inflorescences terminal, flowers solitary. Flowers 3-merous, 30-55 mm; bracteoles absent; sepals caducous, 6, white or pale green; petals 6-9, white or pink; stamens equal to or 2 times number of petals; anthers dehiscing longitudinally; pollen exine finely reticulate to verrucate; ovaries ellipsoid; placentation marginal; style central. Fruits berries, yellow, orange, red, or maroon, ellipsoid. Seeds 20-50, yellow, orange, red, or maroon; aril yellow, rarely maroon, fleshy, enclosing seed. x = 6.
Species 2 (1 in the flora): widely disjunct temperate areas in e North America and e Asia.
Podophyllum hexandrum Royle, which is native to eastern Asia, is recognized in its own genus, Sinopodophyllum T. S. Ying, by some authors. Also occurring in east Asia is the segregate genus Dysosoma Woodson, with about seven species.
Dewick, P. M. 1983. Tumour inhibitors from plants. In: G. E. Trease and W. C. Evans. 1983. Pharmacognosy, ed. 12. London. Pp. 629-647.