Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Lynn
Posted on: August 30, 2012

How to collect n dry it, what parts? Just roots? What price average? Buyers of it in Ohio?

Mayapple is one of the common names for Podophyllum peltatum L. (aka Mandrake). It mostly grows in light forests, and should be considered for forest-farming protocols.

The root is the only part marketed. Your most lucrative direction for those markets would regional buyers.

Predicated on your direction with marketing this crop, will determine how you would best harvest it. Forest-farming protocols would require pruning the rhizome, for expansion and sustainability. In propagation experiments in Kentucky, there has been no success in germinating seed. Seeds are extremely difficult to sprout, so it is propagated by division or rootstock in the autumn, or from seed sown in the spring.

It can be intercropped in the forest, but requires damp, humus-rich soils, and partial shade (light forest cover). The demand for the dried rhizome has stimulated interest in cultivation, but so far it is mostly gathered from the wild in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. It will grow in OH.

In propagation trials, seeds with surrounding pulp were planted soon after removal from fresh fruit, and they germinated after a dormancy of nine to ten months. The plant has been experimentally cultivated in high, moist situations, and rhizomes have been ready for harvesting in two to four years.

Efforts are being made to encourage the pharmaceutical use of this domestic resource in place of the important P. peltatum. The rhizome of our domestic species contains three times the resin of that of P. peltatum, and the resin possesses as much as 38% podophyllotoxin, but no peltatin.

Harvesting may take place in spring or fall. The rhizome with roots attached are washed and cut into 4 to 8 inch pieces, and dried before shipment. The rhizomes with roots attached are washed, cut into pieces 4 to 8 inches long and dried before shipment. Drying can be done in the sun or tarps, or on a drying kiln (screens or chicken-wire).

Forest-farming (reforestation protocols) require pieces of the rhizome be left in the area, to assure continuation of plants. Mandrake is a fairly fast grower, and harvest rotations can be only five years with good reseeding and moisture.

Back to Commercial Herb Production and Marketing | Q & A Index

Copyright © 1997-2021 Otto Richter and Sons Limited. All rights reserved.