Taxonomy

Mandragora caulescens is a perennial herb that can grow to 20–60cm in height.

The leaves grow mostly around the base of the plant but sometimes form up the stem.

Stems are 10–40cm long and occasionally branched.

Flowers are dark purple or yellow in colour with a campanulate, or bell-like, calyx.

The fruit is a berry, rounded in shape and varying from pale green to pale yellow in colour.

Flowers of Mandragora caulescens can vary greatly in colour and shape.

Some botanists have recognised four subspecies.

Currently the Flora of China only recognises M. caulescens but further study may lead to subdivision of the species.

Look-alikes

Mandragora caulescens can be separated from other Mandragora species by its leaves.

  • the young leaves grow in a cluster on top of a stem with scales
  • other species have their leaves permanently arranged in a rosette with no elongation of the stem

However you are unlikely to encounter M. caulescens with either M. turcomanica or M. officinarum in the wild as they have very separate distributions.

  • M. turcomanica is restricted to Southwestern Kopet Dag on the Turkmenistan-Iranian border
  • M. officinarum has a Mediterranean distribution, occurring in Spain, Morocco, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria and Israel