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According to popular legend when the root of a mandrake is dug up it screams and kills all who hear it. Mandrake is the common name for members of the genus Mandragora, it is entirely poisonous and contains various hallucinogenic alkaloids including atropine, scopolamine, apoatropine, and hyoscyamine. One of the interesting things about mandrake plant is the root bifurcation or division of the root into two parts, which look very similar to human feet. This resemblance to humans has been explored in the Bible, literature, magic, and even witchcraft. Literature has seemed particularly interested in this link between man and mandrake.

Shakespeare references the connection in Romeo and Juliet when he writes “Shrieks like mandrakes’ torn out of the earth” (IV, iii) and even the Hogwarts greenhouse from Harry Potter has mandrakes that look like humans when pulled from the soil and whose cry is fatal.

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