Hebrew dudaim; i.e., "love-plants", occurs only in Genesis 30:14-16 and Cant 7:13 . Many interpretations have been given of this word dudaim . It has been rendered "violets," "Lilies," "jasmines," "truffles or mushrooms," "flowers," the "citron," etc. The weight of authority is in favour of its being regarded as the Mandragora officinalis of botanists, "a near relative of the night-shades, the 'apple of Sodom' and the potato plant." It possesses stimulating and narcotic properties ( Genesis 30:14-16 ). The fruit of this plant resembles the potato-apple in size, and is of a pale orange colour. It has been called the "love-apple." The Arabs call it "Satan's apple." It still grows near Jerusalem, and in other parts of Palestine.
(Heb. dudraim ) are mentioned in ( Genesis 30:14 Genesis 30:16 ) and in Song 7:13 The mandrake, Atropa mandragora , is closely allied to the well-known deadly nightshade, A. bellndonna , and to the tomato, and belongs to the order Solanaceae , or potato family. It grows in Palestine and Mesopotamia. (It grows low, like lettuce, which its leaves somewhat resemble, except that they are of a dark green. The flowers are purple,and the root is usually forked. Its fruit when ripe (early in May) is about the size of a small apple, 24 inches in diameter, ruddy or yellow and of a most agreeable odor (to Orientals more than to Europeans) and an equally agreeable taste. The Arabs call it "devils apple," from its power to excite voluptuousness. Dr. Richardson ("Lectures on Alcohol," 1881) tried some experiments with wine made of the root of mandrake, and found it narcotic, causing sleep, so that the ancients used it as an anaesthetic. Used in small quantities like opium, it excites the nerves, and is a stimulant. --ED.) [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
Mandrakes are the fruit of the Mandragora officinarum, a member of the Solanaceae or potato order, closely allied to the Atropa belladonna. It is a common plant all over Palestine, flourishing particularly in the spring and ripening about the time of the wheat harvest (Genesis 30:14). The plant has a rosette of handsome dark leaves, dark purple flowers and orange, tomato-like fruit. The root is long and branched; to pull it up is still considered unlucky (compare Josephus, BJ, VII, vi, 3). The fruit is called in Arabic baid el-jinn, the "eggs of the jinn"; they have a narcotic smell and sweetish taste, but are too poisonous to be used as food. They are still used in folklore medicine in Palestine. The plant was well known as an aphrodisiac by the ancients (Song of Solomon 7:13).
E. W. G. Masterman
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