I wish I could call Podophyllum a true mandrake – the fabled plant of medieval myth and bestiaries from Pliny to Borges, which grew under gallow-poles, whose scream upon being uprooted was death to any that heard it, and which was a necessary compenent of countless potions and spells (the Wikipedia entry on Mandrake is a standout source for more cultural and botanical information). But as with many eponymous New World plants, the Crum’s greenery is not the same plant as its European namesake, the true mandrake Mandragora.  
May-Apple does, however, have a  its own  qualities: it is ubiquitous (covering vast swathes in the Crum, though not invasive), it is poisonous (every part but the fruit), it is demure (by the time the flower appears it is hidden beneath the broad leaves that earn it the name ‘umbrella plant’).
Some claim that May-Apple has as many uses as true mandrake, both medical and magickal. It is produced commercially to treat warts.
Podophyllum peltatum
Samuel B. Palmer
Biology Dept.
Swarthmore College
Tuesday, May 2, 2006