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Mandrake

The mandrake root from Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets

Mandrakes are magical plant creatures that feature in the Harry Potter books and films. While they may be plants, they exhibit humanoid appearance and, to some extent, behaviour.

Appearance

A typical Mandrake appears to have a humanoid form, but with the colour and rough texture of a plant root. Green leaves grow from small stalks on their heads which have faces reminiscent of human infants.

Behaviour

Mandrakes, like any plant, live and grow in soft earth and spend most of their lives in an immobile state. Their behaviour changes as they age; during their adolescent period, they can be quiet and moody one day and the next day be throwing wild parties. This behaviour makes them comparable to teenage humans.

When a Mandrake is pulled from the soil, it lets out a terrible scream. The Mandrake's scream is usually fatal to humans, although infant Mandrake screams only render humans unconscious. Mandrake gardeners are required to wear earplugs when plucking Mandrakes.

Etymology

Mandrakes have several medicinal uses, such as ingredients for pain killers and sedatives. Mandrake extract is also highly sought after for its supposed aphrodisiac properties. Mandrake leaves are a common ingredient in magic potions and can be used to cure magical ailments such as petrification.