In 1938 a new species, Mandragoraturcomanica O. Mizgir., was discovered in the Sumbar river valley near the Soviet–Iranian border in the nowadays Republic of Turkmenistan. The prevailing hypothesis of its origin was that M. turcomanica is a species that survived in a refuge between the Mediterranean and Himalayan parts of the now disjunct genus range. Meteorological observation conducted by the author in the area occupied by the species revealed that the presumed high frost tolerance of the species was exaggerated. The plants of the Sumbar Valley could survive only in a narrow altitude belt due a very specific combination of favorable microclimate and soil. However, the present distribution of mandrake plants in Turkmenistan cannot explain why the plants were never observed in the southern valleys of the Turkmen–Khorasan range of northern Iran, which has a similar landscape to the Sumbar Valley and a considerably warmer climate. Cultivation and usage of the Turkmenian mandrake as a medicinal plant in Iran, its name “halom” and the fact that all known locations of Turkmenian mandrake match the traces of ancient irrigation in the Sumbar Valley support the hypothesis that Turkmenian mandrake could be the holy plant the ancient Iranians called “Haoma”, repeatedly mentioned in the “Avesta” (the collection of sacred texts of the ancient Aryan religion known as Zoroastrianism). The introduction of mandrake currently growing in Sumbar Valley from the other region is supported by the species biology, i.e. the lack of dispersal of its fruits by birds which strongly limits its potential distribution, and by a recently reported high genetic similarity of Turkmenian mandrake with plants from Israel.
mandrake, there can be little doubt, that among the Yezidis it was developed under the strong influence of the Armenian tradition, which demonstrates special attitudes towards this enigmatic plant and even incorporated the mandrake worship into the folk Christianity.
There is no explicit tree cult in
The article focuses on folk beliefs related to the cult of plants and particularly that of the mandrake in the Eastern Caucasus, revealed predominantly in folk magical procedures. The research is based on field materials, including those reflected in relevant publications, as well as on sporadic data found in historical sources.
Persian words from classical texts and vernacular language, particularly the lexical group denoting ‘mandrake’, some other plant-names (‘water-cress’, ‘fenugreek’), adjectives and social terms (‘bald’, ‘prostitute’, ‘lame’), names of body-parts (‘head’, ‘thigh’), traditional food, kinship terms
-17), and of the mandrakes which married women used to help them in getting children (vii 14; cf. Gen. xxx 14-15), but the consummation of their love is still in the future (vii 13). The damsel is still in the home of her mother (iii 4, viii 2). They are indeed already in a somewhat intimate personal
(Επαίνετος; Epaínetos) [German version] Medicinal plant expert and author of toxicological works, who lived between the 1st cent. BC and the 3rd cent. AD. His views on the dangerous characteristics of wolfbane, hemlock, opium, mandrake, henbane, poisonous mushrooms, black chamaeleon (a plant whose
In reconstructing taxon evolution, historical biogeography is concerned with two kinds of speciation events, both resulting in a fragmented taxon distribution – vicariance and dispersal. We used PCR-RFLP of plastid DNA and a ribosomal internal transcribed spacer, sequencing of the rps16-trnK chloroplast region, flow cytometry (florescence-activated cell sorter; FACS), and ecological niche modeling to understand the role of these two processes in a disjunct distribution of genus Mandragora. The observed phylogeographic structure only partly coincided with currently recognized species. Commonly used recognition of a single species in the whole Mediterranean is not supported, given that a single haplotype observed from Morocco and Spain to Turkey is strikingly different from the haplotypes found in Israel. In the Sino-Himalayan area, the previously recognized M. chinghaiensis is nested within the M. caulescens clade indicating a very recent diversification within this lineage. And, most importantly, the obtained minimum spanning tree, observed haplotype distribution, and results of FACS call into question the existence of M. turkomanica as a species, and even as a lower taxonomic unit. Rather, the mandrake from Central Asia is nested within those from Israel, suggesting their closely related evolutionary history and ancient human assisted migration from Israel to Persia in historic times. Our study suggests that human assisted migration can explain the cases of disjunct species distribution for which vicariance was previously considered as the only plausible explanation.
identified by L.Y.Rahmani as the (mandrake?) root used by Solomon to chase away demons: see SEG 49 2091; our token belongs to R.’s category (B), with the inscription partly in mirror script and beginning at right (see ibid. for a more detailed description). The objects are dated prior to ca. 540 A.D. on the
, 1984, 82). Mentioned by R.Camber in Actes du XV Congrès International d’Études byzantines, Athènes, Sept. 1976, II A (Athens 1981) 99. Ed.pr. L.Y.Rahmani, IEJ 49 (1999) 92-104 (ph.; dr.), who interprets the image as the root (probably a mandrake root) used by Solomon to make demons fly (Jos., Ant. 8