Kingdom: Plantae -plantsSubkingdom: Tracheobionta -Vascular plantsSuperdivision: Spermatophyta- Seed plantsDivision: Magnoliophyta- Flowering plantsClass: Magnoliopsida- DicotyledonsSubclass: AsteridaeOrder: SolanalesFamily: Solanaceae- Potato familyGenus: Mandragora L.- MandrakeSpecies: Mandragora officinarum L.-Mandrake[1]



"Mandrake is a common name for any of the herbaceous, perennial plants comprising the genus Mandragora of the family Solanacea", in particular Mandragora officinarum. The Mandragora Officinarum has a long fleshy root that roughly resembles the human body. It has long had medicinal and magical properties associated with it. [2]

Plants in the Solanacea Family (1)
Plants in the Solanacea Family (2)


Medical uses
Mandrake in the Bible (WildCard)
Magic and Witchcraft (Harry Potter)


The mandrake root runs 3 to 4 feet deep into the ground and is brown and somewhat like a parsnip root. It's sometimes single and sometimes divided into two or three branches. "From the root arise several large, dark-green leaves, which at first stand erect, but when grown to full size a foot or more in length and 4 to 5 inches in width-spreads open and lie upon the ground. They are sharp pointed at the apex and of a foetid odour. From among these leaves spring the flowers, each on a separate foot-stalk, 3 or 4 inches high. They are somewhat of the shape and size of a primrose, the corolla bell-shaped, cut into five spreading segments, of a whitish color, somewhat tinged with purple. They are succeeded by a round fruit, about as large as a small apple with a deep yellow color when ripe, full of pulp and with a strong, apple-like scent."[3] images mandrake.jpg


"Mandrake originates in the eastern Mediterranean region and is distributed throughout southern Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, where it grows in waste places and abandoned fields in sandy and rocky, well draining soil." Today Mandrake is cultivated north of the Alps, but is not native to the region. This is due to the fact that it needs a warm and protected setting. [4] map.jpgnorth-africa-map.jpg

Medical Uses

"Mandrake's medicinal uses date back to ancient times, with references to it being used as a cure to sterility in Genesis 3:14-16 and in the time of Pliny (23-79 C.E.) it was being given to patients before surgery by having them chew pieces of root (Blakemore and Jennett 2001)." Although the root of the Mandrake is very toxic, it can be used as an adnodyne to relieve and soothe pain. This can be achieved by reducing the sensitivity of the brain or nervous system. The Mandrake was also used for its ability to induce sleep. It also, has been used to induce vomiting and bowel movements. In ancient times the root was used as an aphrodisiac and for fertility. "Dioscorides, a Greek physician of the first century, described how a wine made from mandrake produces anesthesia, noting it can be used for those who cannot sleep, or have severe pain, or are being cauterized or cut, with the use of it resulting in that they will not feel pain (Peduto 2001)."[5]

Mandrake in the Bible (WildCard)

A common plant in many parts of Israel the mandrake is mentioned in Genesis 30:14 and Song of Songs 7:13.


“Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray you, some of your son’s mandrakes. But Leah answered, Is it not enough that you have taken my husband without your taking away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Jacob shall sleep with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.”
Genesis 30:14-15[6]
About this verse
In the new King James Bible Mandrakes were thought of as aphrodisiacs and fertility aids. They quickly became known as "love apples," and therefore were desired. In the passage "Leah and Jacob already had four sons, and although her sister Rachel was more loved by Jacob, she was barren. The wrangling over mandrakes bore out this family’s tendency (at this time) to resort to “magic” rather than depending on God. The mandrake produced a beautiful flower and a desirable red fruit, and the tuber or root was similar to a potato, but was shaped with shoots like arms and legs that made it look similar to a human body."[7]

Magic and Witchcraft (Harry Potter)

The mandrake root is an essential part of most antidotes, including one for Pertrification. It can return people who have been Transfigured or cursed to their original state. Seedlings are tufty little plants, purplish green in color with what look like tiny babies growing where the roots would be. Over several months they grow and develop until they mature and can be harvested and used for portions. Special care must be taken when handling the Mandrake, their cry is fatal to humans. Even as a baby, the Mandrake's howls can knock a person out for a couple of hours.[8]


"Mandrake." A Modern Herbal. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

"Mandrake (plant)." - New World Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

"Mandrake (plant)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Apr. 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

"Mandrake." Plants in the Bible. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

"Mandrake." Plants of the Bible. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

"PLANTS Profile for Mandragora Officinarum (mandrake) | USDA PLANTS." PLANTS Profile for Mandragora Officinarum (mandrake) | USDA PLANTS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

"Sacred Earth - Sacred Plants: Mandrake (Mandragora Officinalis)." Sacred Earth - Sacred Plants: Mandrake (Mandragora Officinalis). N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

"The Plant List — A Working List for All Plant Species." Solanaceae. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.
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