VAUGHAN FLEMING / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VAUGHAN FLEMING / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mandrake plant (Mandragora officinarum). The root of this plant contains two steroid alkaloid compounds, scopolamine and hyoscyamine, which give it medicinal properties and also make it poisonous. This close relative of deadly nightshade has been used since ancient times as a narcotic and an anaesthetic. It grows wild in southern Europe and western Asia. Photographed in Phaestos, Crete, Greece.
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