Mandragora officinarum

Rodger Whitlock
Wed, 25 Feb 2004 15:28:10 PST
On 21 Feb 04 at 17:25, Brian Whyer wrote:

> Can someone tell me if Mandragora officinarum is self fertile.
> Should I be out there in the cold tickling it to help it along. It
> has looked like this link
> mand ra-o.jpg for some weeks and has several flowers to "open" yet.
> It reminds me of Audrey2 in the film Little Shop of Horrors, but I
> have not heard it scream yet.

My impression (not one formed by careful scientific observation, 
admittedly) is that the mandrakes need a bit of warmth to be 
fertilized. As far as I know they are self fertile -- after all, they 
are solanaceous and that family is not known for self-sterility.

If your plants are young, don't expect fruit. Mine have taken 5 to 
10 years to reach the fruiting stage.

BTW, does anyone grow Mandragora officinarum ssp. haussknechtii?

And does anyone know a *good* modern treatment of genus Mandragora? 
The references I have are totally confusing.

On 21 Feb 04 at 17:48, John Grimshaw wrote:

> Mandragora officinarum is self-fertile - at least my solitary plant
> sets a good crop of fat fruits each year.  I assume the bees do the
> job of pollination. How to get the seed to germinate is another
> matter!

In the first edition of his Gardening Dictionary, Miller says the
seeds must be fresh; but my plants all originated from exchange seed
sown long after harvest.

Sow the silly things, put the pot in a coldframe, and wait. They'll 
come up.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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