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mandrake

Posted by shortarse_hedgewitch Bucks UK (shortarse_hedgewitch@hotmail.com) on
Fri, Jun 24, 05 at 6:02

anyone here have experience of growing mandrakes?

i have been trying to grow mandrakes since last summer, i stratified the seeds in the fridge, for 6 weeks in a jar of water which i changed daily, as i was suposed to, i planted them on pots and kept them warm.
nothing happened, thankfully i left them in my greenhouse which got knocked over (yes its a little diddy one) and due to british weather there was snow while i was on holiday. one sprouted, 1. when searching through the post for the rest of the seeds as nothing else came up i found one that had started to sprout and died and one shell of a seed and 2 other seeds. one i never found

the other 2 are in jiffy pellets now and haven't sprouted.

main proble though is that the one that is doing ok isn't looking so good. it has one true leaf and the seed leaves died and fell off a few days ago.it was looking a bit sad cos theres bee realy hot weather which has just broken thankfully.

should it be like this? i just has one leaf stickng out of the ground. and as the dog nearly dug it up a few days aog i got a look at the crown (it was digging next to the plant thankfully). no new leaves forming.

is this normal, there is shockingly little info on the web.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: mandrake

I have a couple of plants of Mandragora autumnalis (related species with similar properties) grown from seed. These germinated pretty well, but I haven't had any luck with M. officinalis in limited quantities. I think you need really fresh seed - and there may be helpful incantations I don't know about. The young plants have not grown much in pots, and I think I need to get them in the ground ASAP.

Apart from magical use, it is probably good to mention that Mandrake contains hyoscyamine and scopolamine (toxic stuff) and shouldn't be consumed except maybe under the supervision of a really qualified witch doctor.

There might be additional advice available in the Herbs forum, which is about growing rather than using herbs.


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RE: mandrake

thx
i was wondering mainly if ur mandrakes seedleaves died before a second true leaf appeared? i know plants differ but your message gave the impression that you had more than one.
btw i heard that if u leave them in a pot the roots reach the bottom somehow causing them to stop growing and die!

oh and the 2 seeds that diddn't sprout might still be viable, unless they get the right conditions (i.e. temp fluctuations) solanaceae seeds can survive for something like 3o years in some species.

they also contain atropine. and the alcaloids u mentioned are absorbable through skin so i know not to handle it to much.

thanks, if i have more such questions i will post them in the herbs forum, though tat seemed to mention culinary herbs as part of the forum description (mmm, mandrake gives the lamb such an excelent flavour, amost like... eeerkk... THUD *dies*)

actualy i can't see any medical use for mandrake except possible quick use for counteracting hemlock poisoning.


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RE: mandrake

The seed leaves did not die before the main leaves emerged.

I've heard recommendations for direct sowing to avoid inhibiting root growth. I'll have to see if the plants take off once they're in the ground. If you want to try M. autumnalis, J.L. Hudson Seeds in California is a good source.

Great username, by the way. :)


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RE: mandrake

i'v got one true leaf, but only one. the leaf looks healthy.
i can probably get some on ebay, i was thinking about it. and as i live in the UK i know a UK based company so i think i'll go for them (just easyer and prices in s)
thx


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RE: mandrake

I have read they need a LOT of root space if planted in pots... like they need a garbage can depth...
I think those jiffy pellets should be tossed. they are awful. I start all my seeds in 4" peat pots now and I have a lot better luck.


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RE: mandrake

the roots can go down 4 feet or more. :o
they weren't in jiffy pellets before but i found it was easer to keep track of them.
reason i had trouble finding them before is that my mini greenhouse was knocked over while i was on hols in winter.

i'm worried that even if the plant is ok it will be slugged.
i have a major slug problem, my yound henbane plants in the last 2 days got eaten (i only have 2 that got big)
on the plus side, after the massive storm we had today i noticed about 15-20 more tiny little henbane plants just come up (hooray for staggered germination)
i am reluctant to use slug pellets just cos i don't like using chemicals, i'm not being silly and newage but i just don't like them. and i have 2 dogs that cud eat them and die.

still haven't got an awnser on whether the seed leaved died after only one true leaf on any plants...


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RE: mandrake

I don't have much experience in this family, but Erowid always is an interesting site, if you wern't familiar with them, here's a link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Erowid


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RE: mandrake

i am more than familiar with erowid... thx anyway, tis a very useful site. more people should know about it.
still haven't got an awnser to the question but oh well. might not be a problem for long as the one leaf is looking just a bit yellowed, we had another strom last night with heavy rain, (i wasn't even home) and the tip of the leav is looking brown and crispy :#


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RE: mandrake

People may not know... it is such a difficult plant to grow, there may not be anybody experienced with it here. I don't think I have much chance in hell of growing mandrake here...way too hot... doesn't even freeze here in the winter. I would LIKE to, but I think I'd have to buy the plant instead of the seed.


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RE: mandrake

heathen1, you may be wrong. black mandrake comes from southern europe and is designed to grow in hotter places like isreal and the surrounding area.

mandrakes live in places that either have a wet winter (cold) or a dry summer (hot). as a result too much water makes them dormant as does too little. both can grow in hotter dry climes, if u have very hot dry summers and mild winters you may be able to grow mandrake that grows during winter and is dormant in summer.

the only leaf fell off today. fell isnt the right word exactly, it was all yellow and obvoiusly dying, so i oulled on it GENTLY and it came right off.
as i write this i am begining to wonder whether i overwatered during the droughty weather before the storm and the the delughes we've had recently have made it think "oh winter already? i'd better go dormant". we shall see.

oh and you can stratify your seeds in the freezer or fridge. my fridge sucks and doesn't actualy get cold enough but the freezer may, i'm hoping to put the other seeds in the freezer to try and re-stratify. they may still be viable. *crosses fingers*


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RE: mandrake

I think you tried too hard. Old World mandrake, first, is a kind of picky plant. Know that only about 20% of the seeds will germinate no matter what you do. I live in florida and out of ten seeds, I have two successful plants. Actually I got over half to germinate, but I simply put them in good quality sterile potting soil and barely kept it moist.

Too much sun, they die. Too little sun they don't like either. Too much water they die; too little water they go dormant.

Once grown transfer jiffy pots into large plastic garbage containers because they need LOTS of room to grow. I keep mine in semisun, and keep the soil *barely* moist watering only when the surface appears dry. Sometimes, at least mine, have gone dormant but they have this huge root and now new plants are emerging. Odd mine have gone dormant during the summer, and come out when it gets cool (around October-november). I think its timing is off or something.


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RE: mandrake

hey, its still alive, no leaves but it is, i noticed (well i thought it was dead and dug it up to see if i cud salvage the root, but it had new roots so its not dead)

and lizard, like i sed, if u live iin a place with hot dry summers it will switch round and go dormant in the summer and grow when things are cooler and nore favourable for it. as far as i know florida is famouse for its lovely hot summers (i don't like them much but each to his own) so that sounds rite.

i wudn't say it was picky, it lost all its leaves, got knocked out of the soil cos i dropped the pot whe it was just emerging, its been manhandled, dug up by one of our wonderfully helpful dogs. dug up by me twice cos i though it was dead and still going strong. lets just hope after all that (in the space of this summer) winter doesn't kill it.

but then again, the solanaceae are usualy almsot ipossible to kill unless you pulle them up and shove them in a blender : )


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RE: mandrake

I still don't think I know what Mandrakes are...time to dig out my Grieve again.

:o/


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