Mandrake Root (American)
Botanical: Podophyllum peltatum (American)*
Family: Berberidaceae (barberry)
Other common names: American Mandrake, Mayapple, Raccoon Berry, Wild Lemon, Indian Apple, Duck's Foot, Hog Apple, Umbrella Plant, Ground Lemon
* Not to be confused with European Mandrake, an entirely different plant of the poisonous nightshade family.
The real Mandrake (the plant) is a long leafed (nearly a foot long, and 6" wide) dark green plant with small greenish-yellow or purple bell-shaped flowers that drow on 3-4" stalks. The flowers eventually fruit into small orange-coloured fleshy berries with a strong, apple-like scent, hence the name Satan's Apples.
It is best known for the large brown root, running 3 to 4 feet into the ground sometimes single and sometimes forked into two or three distinctive branches (bifid) which gives the plant a rough resemblance to that of a human monster form.
Magically speaking, the female mandrake carries forked that look like a pair of human legs, whereas the male has only a single root.
In the old Herbals we find them frequently figured as a male with a long beard, and a female with a very bushy head of hair.
The female form is the most sought after for magic and medicinal use. It was the female form that was carved in the Middle Ages (in Germany and France) into manikins.
Planet: Mercury, Uranus and Pluto.
Powers: Protection, Fertility, Money, Love, Health
A whole Mandrake root placed in the home, will give the house protection, fertility, and prosperity. Also, where there is Mandrake, demons cannot abide. Money placed beside the root is said to multiply.