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Herbaceous Perennial

Mandragora officinarum

common mandrake

M. officinarum is a perennial with a fleshy tap root producing a rosette of dark green leaves up to 30cm long, upright at first then lying flat on the ground. In spring, a cluster of upright, bell-shaped flowers, greenish-white with purple staining, appear in the centre of the rosette, followed by yellow fruit

Other common names
devil's apple
devil's candle
see moredevil's food
medicinal mandrake
Synonyms
Atropa mandragora
Mandragora vernalis

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Purple Green
Summer Green Yellow
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Solanaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
Alkaloids in the plant may be harmful if ingested. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling
Genus

Mandragora are perennials with fleshy taproots producing large rosettes of leaves and stemless, bell-shaped flowers followed by fleshy fruits

Name status

Correct

Plant range
S Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in deep, well-drained soil in a warm, sunny position, protected from cold, drying wind and excessive winter wet. Avoid disturbance once established

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown as soon as ripe or in autumn or root cuttings taken in winter

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Rock garden
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Wall side borders
Pruning

No pruning needed

Pests

Slugs and snails may damage leaves and fruit

Diseases

Generally disease free

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