I serve as the Plant Rescue Coordinator for the Wild Ones Fox Valley Area Chapter. Recently I got a call from a member asking about moving woodland mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) plants which were in danger because the overstory had been cut. The following information is from Jim Bray of Hickory Road Gardens, Mosinee, Wisconsin.
“Best time to move any root is when it is dormant. If you can wait till leaf fade that is better. You’ll find roots of the mayapple with growing buds, and lots without. If it is an old stand, the roots may be twisted all over the place. Keep the roots with growing buds joints, cut to about 6 inches with some “whiskers” on them; they should grow next year. Although they sometimes take a year off. The roots without buds will sometimes grow in a year or so also, so if you space don’t discard them. Oh the magic (finnickiness) of plants!
The mayapple can also be started from seed for those who don’t wish to dig up native beds. Take the seed when the fruits are nice and yellow. Then squeeze the seeds out in a pail, preferably one with sides high enough to catch the squirts that go up instead of down or over. Something about the kid in me loves squeezing them. Anyway, that squashed mess can be left in the pail for a while until the pulp ferments away. Wash them over a screen with holes small enough to keep the seeds from dropping through while flushing out the pulp. Sow them into nicely worked ground with a covering of mulch to keep them moist. They should grow the next year.
Transplanting rhizomes, though, yields faster, more reliable results.”