Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
narcotic plant, early 14c., mondrake, from Medieval Latin mandragora, from Latin mandragoras, from Greek mandragoras, probably from a non-Indo-European word. The word was in late Old English in its Latin form; folk etymology associated the second element with dragoun and substituted native drake in its place. The forked root is thought to resemble a human body and is said to shriek when pulled from the ground.
Hebrew dudaim; i.e., "love-plants", occurs only in Gen. 30:14-16 and Cant. 7:13. Many interpretations have been given of this word _dudaim_. It has been rendered "violets," "Lilies," "jasmines," "truffles or mushrooms," "flowers," the "citron," etc. The weight of authority is in favour of its being regarded as the Mandragora officinalis of botanists, "a near relative of the night-shades, the 'apple of Sodom' and the potato plant." It possesses stimulating and narcotic properties (Gen. 30:14-16). The fruit of this plant resembles the potato-apple in size, and is of a pale orange colour. It has been called the "love-apple." The Arabs call it "Satan's apple." It still grows near Jerusalem, and in other parts of Palestine.