I started out as an herbal apprentice. Back in the day, when stocking the apothecary shelves with bottles of tinctures, I always had to leave a disproportionately large amount of space for the letters L to M. There was Lavender, Licorice, Lobelia, Mint, Motherwort, Mullein and Much More—heavy hitters in the herb world. When I started growing all these for seed, I was able to better represent the various species of each genus. For instance, I was soon growing 7 different kinds of Lavender (Lavandula spp.), at least 3 Motherworts (Leonurus spp.), 2 different Mulleins (Verbascum spp.) etc. Beyond those bread-and butter herbs, there were other M’s lurking in the shadows. Certainly Mandrake would be one of these. By experimenting for years with planting the seeds, I gained a good feel for how to successfully germinate them. (This information will be found under the individual headings.) By making detailed inquiry to people living within the natural distribution of the plants, I learned much about their preferred habitat, modified my own growing areas to reflect these preferences, and so began to have good luck with growing the plants and harvesting the seed. Mandrake seed packets have always been one of our most unique offerings. We have even managed, from time to time, to offer sturdy potted plants. Unlike heralding to seed aspirations, people find plants a bit more immediate and tangible. The possibility that mandrake plants will again be listed keeps people coming back to this website and our paper catalog, looking for this and other oddities.
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