from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A southern European plant (Mandragora officinarum) in the nightshade family, having greenish-yellow flowers and a branched root. This plant was once believed to have magical powers because its root resembles the human body.
  • noun The root of this plant, which contains the poisonous alkaloid hyoscyamine.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The enchanter's nightshade, Circæa Lutetiana.
  • noun A plant of the genus Mandragora.
  • noun The May-apple, Podophyllum peltatum.
  • noun In heraldry, a figure resembling a root with two long and pointed bifurcations usually twisted together, and the whole crowned with leaves and berries.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A low plant (Mandragora officinarum) of the Nightshade family, having a fleshy root, often forked, and supposed to resemble a man. It was therefore supposed to have animal life, and to cry out when pulled up. All parts of the plant are strongly narcotic. It is found in the Mediterranean region.
  • noun (Bot.), U.S. The May apple (Podophyllum peltatum). See May apple under May, and Podophyllum.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun mythology A mandragora, a kind of tiny demon immune to fire.
  • noun botany Any plant of the genus Mandragora, certain of which are said to have medicinal properties; the curiously shaped root of these plants has been likened to the shape of a little man, and thus, has attained some mythic significance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the root of the mandrake plant; used medicinally or as a narcotic
  • noun a plant of southern Europe and North Africa having purple flowers, yellow fruits and a forked root formerly thought to have magical powers


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, alteration (influenced by drake, dragon) of mandragora, from Old English, from Latin mandragorās, from Greek.]


  • The mandrake is a plant which has human-shaped roots.

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  • The mandrake is a plant which has human-shaped roots.

    Archive 2008-10-01

  • What seems to link all these fantastic beliefs and customs with the story of the dog and the mandrake is the fact that they are closely bound up with the conception of the dog as the guardian of hidden treasure.

    The Evolution of the Dragon

  • The goddess Aphrodite was closely related to Cyprus; the mandrake was a magical plant there; and the cowry is so intimately associated with the island as to be called _Cypræa_.

    The Evolution of the Dragon

  • They say that, though so large and powerful, and so courageous against larger animals, it is afraid of a mouse; that its nature is so cold that it will never seek the company of the female until, wandering in the direction of Paradise, it meets with the plant called the mandrake, and eats of it, and that each female bears but one young one in her life.

    Christmas: Its Origin and Associations Together with Its Historical Events and Festive Celebrations During Nineteen Centuries

  • Wherefore the mandrake is a bewitching plant, which enchants the eyes, and charms away pains, sorrows, and all passions by sleep.

    Treatise on the Love of God

  • For the same reason as that suggested by Calmet, Columella calls the mandrake _semihomo_:

    Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs: Three Essays on the Powers of Reproduction

  • [258] "The Arabians call the mandrake 'the devil's candle,' on account of its shining appearance in the night."

    The Complete Poems of Sir Thomas Moore Collected by Himself with Explanatory Notes

  • Poppy-heads were used "with success" to relieve diseases of the head, and the root of the "mandrake," from its supposed resemblance to the human form, was a very ancient remedy for barrenness and was evidently so esteemed by Rachel, in the account given in Genesis 30: 14 ff.

    Three Thousand Years of Mental Healing

  • "Let a young maid pick of rosemary two roots; of monk's-hood --" A line had been drawn through this last word, and another word written above it; but the ink was so faded, the page so woolly and thin with use, that it was impossible to decipher the correction; perhaps it was "mother-wort," an herb Philly did not know; or it might be "mandrake"?

    The Voice


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  • Harry and his classmates were studying these in Herbology.

    June 16, 2012

  • Mandrake is a slow poison, taking out the liver and kidneys. Mandrake poisonings were most common where the European mandrake grew, in Spain and Portugal.

    February 27, 2015

  • "Herbs as well as spices impart flavor and aroma, but herbs were thought of as green and fresh even if they might be dried on occasion. Herbs like parsley, sorrel, or borage were used in both cooking and medicine. Many, such as mandrake, digitalis, or rue, were exclusively or primarily medicinal. Some were gathered in fields and woods, while others were cultivated, but they were above all familiar, literally part of the European landscape.

    "Spices, on the other hand, arrived in dried or semiprocessed form. Until the end of the thirteenth century, when Marco Polo visited India and other parts of southern Asia, Europeans were completely unfamiliar with pepper, nutmeg, or cloves in their botanical form or fresh state. Even ginger and its cousins like galangal and zedoary must have been considerably dried out after a journey that would have taken at least a year. ...

    "Because they were gathered or cultivated locally, herbs did not have great commercial value."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 8.

    October 9, 2017