This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Not poppy nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world.
Shall ever medicine thee to that'sweet sleep.
Which thou owldst yesterday. Othello hi. 3.
Mandrake is a solanaceous plant and partakes of the usual poisonous character of the order. The roots will sometimes go four feet deep, and have been known to live for fifty years. Sometimes they fork so as to somewhat resemble human forms ; but many of those offered in Europe are made from grafted Bryony roots. The insane root" of Shakespeare (Macbeth) is the Mandrake. Mandragora officinarum is the full name.
In our country "Mandrake pills" are made by the quacks from Podophyllum peltatum, a plant of the Berberry family; the May-apple of the woods. The Skunk weed is of the Arum family. Mandragora officinarum is a native of the south of Europe - Greece, etc.