I just learned about a Wintertime meme about wildflowers from Wildflower Morning. This is a series of memes featuring wildflowers, the first category of which is "Favorite Wildflower Photo." I am interpreting this to mean my favorite photo of a wildflower, not a photo of my favorite wildflower. So, without further ado, the humble Mayapple or, in Latin, Podophyllum peltatum.
This native grew in large stands near my childhood home, on the banks of the Fox River in McHenry, Illinois. Because we did not know its name, my siblings and I called it the "umbrella plant," for its umbrella-like leaves. It is also abundant in shady areas in parks and forest preserves throughout Chicagoland. This photo, however, I took in my own little Woodland Garden last Spring. As is evident from the photo, the flowers of this species of Mayapple are hidden underneath the leaves, so that most people are not even aware of this charming and surprisingly large flower. It also rewards those who look under the leaves with its pleasant fragrance. Each plant has only one blossom, which will mature into an edible fruit. All other parts of this plant are poisonous, however. I haven't been brave enough to sample a fruit. I just leave them for the squirrels and birds. This plant goes dormant in August, leaving only next year's sprouts to mark its place.