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Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi entry[edit | edit source]
|“||Mandrake, or Love Apple, is a class of plant from the Mandragora or nightshade family, a group including herbaceous, stemless plants with parsnip-like roots, in which a similarity to the human form may be observed; the leaves are arranged in a rosette. M.autumnalis or officinalis, is cultivated on a small scale in Vicovaro, Rowan and Ymlac, rarely found in the wild. Its berries, which are green and later turn yellow, are eaten with vinegar and pepper, while its leaves are consumed raw. The root of the m., which is a valued ingredient in medicine and herb lore, long ago had great import in superstitions, particularly among the Nordlings; human effigies (called alruniks or alrunes) were carved from it and kept in homes as revered talismans. They were believed to offer protection from illnesses, to bring good fortune during trials, and to ensure fertility and uncomplicated births. The effigies were clad in dresses which were changed at each new moon. M. roots were bought and sold, with prices reaching as much as sixty florins. Bryony roots (q.v.) were used as substitutes. According to superstition, m. was used for making spells, magical philtres and poisons. This belief returned during the period of the witch hunts. The charge of the criminal use of m. was made, for example, during the trial of Lucretia Vigo (q.v) . The legendary Philippa Alhard (q.v) was also said to have used m. as a poison.
Effenberg and Talbot,
— pg(s). 103, Baptism of Fire (UK edition)