At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.
As such, spoilers will be present within the article.
“Mandrake, or Mandragora, is a powerful restorative. It is used to turn people who have been transfigured or cursed to their original state. The cry of the Mandrake is fatal to anyone who hears it.” —Hermione Granger on the properties and abilities of the plant
A Mandrake, also known as Mandragora, is a magical and sentient plant which has a root that looks like a human (like a baby when the plant is young, but maturing as the plant grows). When matured, its cry can be fatal to any person who hears it.
Minister for Magic Venusia Crickerly died in 1912, following a freak Mandrake-related gardening accident.
Mandrakes are part of the second-year Herbology curriculum at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the 1992-1993 school year, the school’s growth of Mandrakes served the additional purpose of making a Restorative Draught to revive all those who had been Petrified during the Chamber of Secrets openings.
During the Battle of Hogwarts, Professor Sprout, Neville Longbottom, and other students, lobbed Mandrakes over the Castle’s battlements to attack the Death Eaters.
Description and traits
Professor Sprout teaches her Second year Herbology students how to pot young Mandrakes
Harry and Ron replanting Mandrakes
Whenever unearthed, the root screams. The scream of a mature Mandrake when it is unearthed will kill any person who hears it, but a young Mandrake’s screams will usually only knock a person out for several hours. When Hogwarts students study Mandrakes in Herbology class, Pomona Sprout had the students wear earmuffs to protect their ears from the Mandrake’s cries.
Mandrakes not only resemble humans, but also have similar behaviours to them. In the 1992-1993 school year, the Mandrakes, at one point of time, became moody and secretive, which indicated that they were reaching adolescence. Later on, they threw a loud and raucous party, which is comparable to humans when they are teenagers, which made Pomona Sprout very happy indeed. Rubeus Hagrid also mentioned the Mandrakes having acne. Mandrakes are fully matured when they start moving into each others pots. When matured, Mandrakes can be cut up to serve as a prime ingredient for the Mandrake Restorative Draught, which is used to cure those who have been Petrified.
A Mandrake’s scream is very similar to (if not the same as) a banshee’s scream, which is also fatal.
The Dugbog’s favourite food is Mandrakes, which leads to Mandrake-growers finding nothing but a bloody mess when pulling their plants out. Flesh-Eating Slugs are known to favour Mandrakes.
Stewed Mandrake is used in Potion-making, forming an essential part of most antidotes. Their leaves are also used as well.
A Mandrake being pulled from its roots
The (European) Mandrake plant has been used since ancient times as a medicinal plant and has a tradition associated with magical activities and witchcraft. It is a member of the nightshade family. It contains hyoscyamine, scopolamine, and mandragorin. Medically, it has been used as a pain killer and a sedative. It was used in ancient times for surgery. An overdose, though, can be fatal.
Because of its roots’ shapes resembling humans, it has been used in magical operations, and as a supposed aphrodisiac. There are variations on the plant, Mandragora Offininarum being the most usual form, with the smaller Mandragora autumnalis having the same properties. Some folk traditions call the latter (M. autumnalis) variety as “Womandrake” in distinction to M. Officinarum as “Mandrake.” A third variant, Mandragora turcomanica, is a nearly extinct and very rare variety, found mostly in Turkey and a few areas of Iran. M. turcomanica is distinguished from M. autumnalis by having larger fruit.
In the Western Hemisphere, another plant, Podophyllum petaltum, is called the American Mandrake. The American Mandrake is unrelated to the European variety, and has fewer medical applications. It, too, is poisonous.
Behind the scenes
The LEGO portrayal of a Mandrake
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, mandrakes can be found throughout the castle and grounds and their cries can be used to break glass objects, but can be only be handled when wearing earmuffs. Also the player can make it sing as an extra (cheat code or unlocked extra).
- In the Game Boy Color version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the “Mandrake Root” item does not resemble the babies seen in other versions, and in fact looks more like a leaf than a root, suggesting the item is merely misnamed.
A Mandrake as a POP! Vinyl
A baby Mandrake as shown on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (video game) (Heard) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Daydream VR)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- The Art of Harry Potter Mini Book of Graphic Design
Notes and references
- 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 6 (Gilderoy Lockhart)
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: “Ministers for Magic” at Wizarding World
- 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13 (The Very Secret Diary)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 (The Second Task)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
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Muggles’ Guide to Harry Potter/Magic/Mandrake
|Muggles’ Guide to Harry Potter – Magic|
|Features||Part of many antidotes and restorative potions|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets|
The Mandrake is an unremarkable-looking tufty sort of plant that is purple and green in color. When dug up, its root has the shape of a human being.
Beginner warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.
Mandrake or Mandragora is a powerful restorative and is a vital component in restorative potions; as a result, it is necessary in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, where it is used to brew a potion that is used to restore those who have been attacked by the monster of the Chamber. The cry of the uprooted Mandrake will kill; Harry’s class is repotting them on his first day back in year 2, but these are very young, almost infant mandrakes (their roots look like wrinkled and ugly babies), and their cry will only knock you out for a couple of hours.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a potion based on mandrakes is used to restore those attacked by the Monster of the Chamber. As in many other places in the series, it becomes apparent that the preparation of potions takes time. In this case, before the victims can be restored, so that they can identify the monster, we must wait for the mandrakes to become mature; conveniently, they do so immediately after Harry has vanquished the monster. In this case, the delay in their maturing is used to force Harry and Ron to come up with the solution to the puzzle of the nature and location of monster and the Chamber, with only extremely limited help from Hermione.
Mandrakes appear again in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where we see Neville and Professor Sprout carrying the potted plants up to the battlements during the preparations for the Battle at Hogwarts. Apparently, they will be cast down upon the attackers, and the cry of the exposed mandrake roots will incapacitate the attacking Death Eaters.
Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don’t answer them here.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Mandrakes are seen to take the entire school year to reach maturity. They were, however, needed early in the year as a potion ingredient. Granted that there is an educational reason for growing them on the grounds, why would it not have been possible to buy mature mandrake roots from a supplier, say in Diagon Alley?
Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the author devised humorous descriptions of the maturation steps of the mandrake plants. The phases of plant maturity were analogous to the development of human children. First the plants were described as becoming “moody and secretive” confirming they had reached adolescence. Next the mandrakes started throwing loud parties indicating their teenage phase. Finally the mandrakes were known to be fully matured when they started moving into each others’ pots.
Harry Potter Herbology 101
By Alexia Nader
Neville Longbottom, Herbology’s star student.
We would bet that most Harry Potter fans at the series finale, which hit theaters on Friday, will be rooting primarily for its endearingly bespectacled protagonist, who battles his nemesis Lord Voldemort in a CGA-filled, action-packed showdown. Here at GARDEN DESIGN, however, our attention is on Potter’s Herbology-loving, second-string sidekick Neville Longbottom. As the only truly plant-loving member of the crew, Neville’s rise from a chubby-cheeked boy that couldn’t cast a summoning spell for his life to the courageous wizard (played by the now-dashing Matthew Lewis) and fierce defender of his friends and school in the Battle of Hogwarts touches our hearts in a special way. To pay tribute to him and his best academic subject, Herbology, we have compiled a list of some of the most unusual wizard plants in J.K. Rowling’s epic.
Illustration from Anonymous 15th century manuscript Tacuinum Sanitatus/Wikimedia Commons.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Neville and his classmates’ introduction to Herbology begins with a class about how to care for mandrakes, the professor first demonstrating how to unearth the strange plant-animals for repotting. Here we get a description of the grotesque plant: “Instead of roots, a small, muddy, and extremely ugly baby popped out of the earth. The leaves were growing right out of his head.” Professor Sprout adds to the group of intimidated students that the plant babies emit screams that are piercing enough to knock out wizards for hours.
Even though in real life mandrakes are not animals, but fully botanical members of the nightshade family Solanaceae, J.K. Rowling didn’t completely invent the idea of a mandrake baby. As Ed Valauskas, curator of the rare books collection at Chicago Botanical Garden’s Lenhardt Library, pointed out in his lecture on plants featured in the Harry Potter series, zoophytes, or plants that double as animals, were prevalent in Renaissance botanical lore. He pointed out some examples of zoophytes in a book by 16th-century French botanist Claude Duret entitled Histoire Admirable des Plants, the most unusual of which is probably the vegetable lamb of tartary, a bush that grows a ferocious lamb as its fruit. According to Valauskas, mandrakes were thought of and documented as having a human form-both male and female-since ancient times.
Mermaid’s wineglass (Acetabularia mediterranea), is an algae that lives in sub-tropical waters. Photo by: Albert Kok/Wikimedia Commons.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry eats a plant that looks like “slimy, grayish-green rat tails,” which allows him to breathe underwater and communicate with mermen for the second task of the Triwizard Tournament. We don’t know what plant inspired the fictional gillyweed, but it seems that J.K. Rowling based it on a type of seaweed, probably imagining a kind of magical transference of properties. In other words, Harry needed to ingest something that could “breathe” underwater, like seaweed, in order be able to do the same himself.
Larryleachia perlatum could easily be a stunt double for Neville’s Mimbulus mimbletonia. Photo by: Blossfeldiana/Flickr.
On the Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Neville solidifies his botany-nerd status by showing his classmates a gift that he got from his great uncle for his 15th birthday-a plant that looks like a cactus but is covered in boils instead of spines. “It was pulsating slightly, giving it the rather sinister look of some diseased internal organ,” describes the narrator, seeing the plant through Harry Potter’s eyes. As Neville later demonstrates, the plant spurts out a thick, pungent liquid called Stinksap out of its boils when provoked with magic. Like with the gillyweed, we have no idea what real plant J.K. Rowling based the Mimbulus mimbletonia on, but this weird-looking Larryleachia perlatum seems to fit the bill.
“Arbre Carnivore” from Sea and Land by J.W. Buel (1889)/Wikimedia Commons.
At the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hermione saves Ron and Harry by defeating a dark and dampness-loving plant whose long tendrils wrap around its prey, choking it to death with a burst of “bluebell” flames from her wand. Always the straight-A student, Hermione remembered the way to combat the plant from a previous Herbology lesson.
Carnivorous trees have popped up now and again in various superstitious texts, including one outrageous tall tale invented by a 19th-century German explorer named Carl Liche who claimed to have seen an eight-foot-tall plant with long hairy tendrils pick up a woman-supposedly belonging to what was later deemed a fictional Malagasy tribe-and devour her whole. Liche’s story, which was written up as a non-fiction travel account in the South Australian Register, was later found to be completely false.
Possibly the one plant uglier than Neville’s Mimbulus mimbletonia, bubotubers play a substantial comedic role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They are introduced in the beginning of the book as creatures that “look less like plants than thick, black, giant slugs…Each was squirming slightly and had a number of large, shiny swellings upon it, which appeared to be full of liquid.” Later, we learn that Professor Sprout harvests the plant’s puss to treat acne. But an accident that affects Hermione further on in the book shows that if the plant’s untreated liquid comes into contact with skin, it will cause huge boils to erupt.
In dreaming up the fictional bubotubers, JK Rowling seemed to have taken a cue from the medieval herbalist philosophy, the “doctrine of signatures,” which holds that plants that resemble certain body parts should be used in the treatment of ailments that pertain to those parts. Her invented species’s primary characteristic, severe plant acne, resembles the condition it is supposed to cure. For more information on medieval plants and their uses, check out The Cloisters Museum & Gardens blog, The Medieval Garden Enclosed.
Aconitum variegatum. Photo by: Bernd Haynold/Wikimedia Commons.
Wolfsbane is one of the primary ingredients in Wolfsbane Potion, a brew that Remus Lupin uses throughout the series to alleviate the symptoms of his werewolf transformation and retain control of his mental faculties. According to a Harry Potter-themed post on the website of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, wolfsbane is actually a real plant named Aconitum that was thought to be a defense against werewolves when mixed with honey and glass in the Middle Ages. Because of this prevailing Medieval supersition, people killed a large portion of Europe’s wolves with the lethal mixture. In the same time period, witches mixed wolfsbane with bella donna or deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna)-another poisonous plant that makes a few cameos in Professor Snape’s potion class-to make a hallucinogen that would allow them to feel like they were flying.
Mandragora officinarum MANDRAKE (10 seeds)
Mandrake or Mandragora officinarum in Latin is a perennial herb of the Solanaceae family.
It is native to the Mediterranean basin, it is found in Spain, Greece and Turkey but unfortunately, this esoteric herb remains increasingly rare in the wild.
Its leaves are thick and long with large white veins.
Its seeds are in fruits of the form of a cherry tomato and orange color.
It usually fructifies from December to February.
This shamanic herb is very rich in alkaloids, which give it highly toxic properties similar to that of Black henbane, deadly nightshade or jimson weed.
It is surrounded by many legends, the Ancients attributing to it extraordinary magic virtues.
Many therapeutic and medicinal virtues are attributed to it.
It is particularly sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory (in poultice) and hypnotic.
It also has aphrodisiac properties.
This herb needs a deep soil for the development of its large roots, fresh but not excessively moist.
The soil must be extremely rich and draining.
The exposure must be sunny.
Do not be surprised to no longer see your mandrake in the summer, unlike all other plants, it is dormant during the summer.
It will grow from September until the end of May.
Sowing seeds mandrake:
Begin by stratifying the untreated seeds for a few weeks in the refrigerator before sowing.
Then, bury the seeds under half a centimeter of horticultural compost and then water with a hand-held sprayer.
Allow the soil to dry for a few days to prevent rotting of the germ.
Finally, place the greenhouse crop at a temperature of 25 to 30 ° C.
Seeds usually germinate after 2 to 3 weeks after sowing.
- Easy to germinate and grow.
- Reproducible seeds without organic designation but untreated seeds.
- sunny exposure in a very draining soil.
- Magic and mythical plant extremely rare.
- Has many medicinal virtues.
Toxic plant. Do not consume.
To cultivate only as a magic and esoteric plant or for the preservation of the species.
Also exists as a live plant for sale to grow.