The mandrake is a plant of the potato family, native to the Mediterranean region and used since ancient times as a medicine. It contains the alkaloids, hyoscyamine, scopolamine, and mandragorine. Leaves are borne at the base of the stem, and the large greenish-yellow or purple flowers produce a many-seeded berry. The branched root resembles a distorted human figure, and for centuries the plant was believed to utter an almost human shriek when picked. Height 40 centimeters (16 inches); family Solanaceae; species Mandragoa offinarum.