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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of plants of the family Podophyl-laceae. (The plants are sometimes included in the family Ber-beridaceae.) The genus Podophyllum consists of low perennial herbs that have a long, creeping rootstock. The upper part of the stem bears two large, opposite, and long-petioled palmatipartite leaves and one drooping white flower measuring about 5 cm in diameter. The perianth has three to six sepals and six to nine petals. The fruit is a large, many-seeded yellow berry. There are six to ten species, distributed in the Himalayas, eastern Asia, and the eastern part of North America. The best-known American species, mayapple (P. peltatum) and P. hexartdrum (formerly P. emodi), grow in shady forests. Both are cultivated in the USSR for their rhizome, which contains podophyllotoxin, a-peltatin, and /3-peltatin. The plants are used to obtain the medicine podophyllin, which is used to treat tumors and as a purgative, a cholagogue, and an anesthetic.


Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.

T. V. Eoorova

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.