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Woodcut illustration depicting a female root of Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum). The root was thought to have human form as the main tap root commonly divides into two, somewhat like legs. Mandrake is a native European perennial, once widely regarded for its medicinal and narcotic properties. It was also supposed to emit a loud shriek when pulled out of the ground - the shriek was reputed to kill anyone who heard it. This illustration appeared in Meydenbach's Hortus Sanitatis of 1491.
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