Mandragora

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mandrake

, mandragora
1. a Eurasian solanaceous plant, Mandragora officinarum, with purplish flowers and a forked root. It was formerly thought to have magic powers and a narcotic was prepared from its root
2. another name for the May apple
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mandragora

 

a genus of plants of the family Solanaceae. They are perennial stemless or short-stemmed herbs with thick, straight roots that sometimes resemble human figures (for this reason, in ancient times these plants were said to have magical powers, and numerous legends were associated with them). The large entire leaves measure up to 80 cm long and are gathered in dense rosettes. The flowers, which are solitary and five-parted, are greenish white, light blue, or violet. The fruit is a large orange or yellow berry. There are five or six species, distributed in the Mediterranean region, Southwest and Middle Asia, and the Himalayas. One species, Mandragora turcomanica, is found in the USSR, in the western Kopetdag. The roots, fruits, and seeds of mandrake (M. officinarum) and M. autumnalis contain several alkaloids, including hyoscyamine and scopolamine, which are sometimes used as pain-killers.

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