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Podophyllum are rare perennial ground cover plants with large lobed leaves, sometimes green with purple-brown spots. The uniqueness of these species also comes from the delicately scented flowers, as if placed on a carpet of leaves. The young toxic but edible fruits are used in homeopathy to treat warts. Not easy to cultivate, these woodland plants like light, humus-rich soils, fresh without too much limestone in semi-shaded conditions. Mulch the soil to keep it cool in summer and to protect the stump in winter. The two most cultivated varieties are: Podophyllum peltatum, 45cm (18in) tall, with pinkish-white flowers and Podophyllum 'Spotty dotty', 40cm (16in) tall, with chocolate-spotted leaves and purple star-shaped flowers. Podophyllum are used in shaded borders, alongside ferns or Heucheras. Tip: Choose its location carefully as Podophyllum do not like transplanting.

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