Talk:Mandragora officinarum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Plants (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Plants, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of plants and botany on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


A question: why is much of the information in italics? I can see no overt need for them.Exec. Tassadar (comments, contribs) 14:02, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Also, where is the citation for the first part "We rate it 1 out of 5 for usefulness"? This is not useful or relevant or appropriate. Can someone with knowledge or resources edit this? Also the resource is a general page, i.e. this entire article is currently uncited. --Tenniskh89 (talk) 03:59, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Copyright infringement?[edit]

Does this page break copyright? It looks like it was copied straight from another site. There are annotations suggesting references, but no references provided except for Bibliomation. --Belfry (talk) 15:44, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Confusion with American Mandrake[edit]

The text contains a confusion with Podophyllum aka. "American Mandrake", aka. Mayapple, which is a completely unrelated plant species. This is the plant which has drastic purgative and emetic actions, not the Mandragora species, which has merely an action and indication based on Atropine/Hyoscine content as a smooth muscle spasmolytic, anticholinergic e.g. for Parkinsons, narcotic and sedative agent for premedication for full anesthesia etc. and has been historically also used for the like indications. The Mandragora is not emetic or purgative and not suitable for the named external application. Other remarks in the text about external application also rely on the same confusion of "Mandrake" and "American Mandrake". This needs to be sorted out. (talk) 04:43, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

References 1 and 3 deal with American Mandrake and are not relevant to Mandragora officinarum. 09:25, 8 April 2013 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I'm not seeing this where American Mandrake is discussed. All 4 references in the article are about Mandragora officinarum (some using the older name Atropa mandragora). Which references are about American Mandrake?Plantdrew (talk) 14:49, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Time of flowering and fruiting[edit]

Since M. autumnale and M. vernalis are synonyms of M. officinarum, surely the information about times of flowering and fruiting needs clarification. Nadiatalent (talk) 16:44, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Can someone take a better photo?[edit]

It is potentially confusing that the lead photo for this plant shows what appear to be Iris leaves. Nadiatalent (talk) 16:44, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Photo replaced. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:55, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Merges and moves[edit]

As a result of the discussion at Talk:Mandrake (plant)#Requested move 7 February 2015, I performed the following steps:

In addition to that, on my own I:

Maybe the last two could be reversed, but I felt that "Mandragora" is a common search term, and the readers would be better served with a comprehensive article about M. officinarum. No such user (talk) 10:42, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: No consensus/moot. There has been a lot of new development since the RM was opened, so this is not a mere naming issue anymore. See #Rehash below for a rehash. Although I'm technically involved having !voted below, I don't have a strong view on the issue and I think it's better to start anew. No such user (talk) 10:49, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Mandragora officinarumMandrake – per WP:NCFLORA ("Scientific names are to be used...except when a plant has...cultural use that makes it more prominent in some other field than in botany."); see article for sources of notability. This is a follow up to another move request discussion and I am notifying all of the participants in that discussion. —  AjaxSmack  00:18, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Survey and discussion[edit]

  • Support, the wording "Mandragora officinarum" does not appear in the article text following the initial wording. GregKaye 07:09, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose, the confusion that existed before was largely because the common name isn't precise. The reason the scientific name isn't used more in the article is that it hasn't been fully cleaned up after the move. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:09, 28 March 2015 (UTC) a move but, after doing more research, support a split. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:46, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Support: per WP:NCFLORA, the cultural significance of mandrakes (as demonstrated by its religious and symbolic usage, which is discussed in the article itself) means this should be the name used. Ebonelm (talk) 13:32, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong support for many reasons, including WP:RECOGNIZABLE and WP:CONCISE. Red Slash 16:06, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
These excellent principles can only be applied if the topic of the article is clear, i.e. WP:PRECISION is upheld. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:00, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support – Latin is a foreign language. Let's use WP:ENGLISH, the language that this encylopaedia was written in, and also the common and natural (WP:NATURALNESS) name. RGloucester 16:30, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
But name for what? Peter coxhead (talk) 11:00, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Abstainsee below as the closer of the previous RM; as I said there, it wasn't 100% clear which name was preferred, but a change in scope was a more urgent job to do. However, since I merged the articles and created Mandragora (genus) as a stub, the brief research I made shows that there's no real ambiguity - the other two species of the genus are called "Himalayan mandrake" and "Turkmen mandrake" and are rather unknown to the English public (and don't have articles yet). No such user (talk) 20:00, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
What "other two species"? This isn't clear, since circumscriptions vary. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:00, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Split:keep the material on the cultural aspects in a separate article titled mandrake. The cultural aspects are the main reason for notability, and they really get into legend more than real information about the plant species. People searching for mandrake are likely interested in a plant that screams when you pull it up. Note that the edit history relevant to the cultural aspects is still at Mandrake (plant); effectively, I oppose this move (edit history in this article pertains to the species), and support moving Mandrake (plant) to Mandrake (which was what was supposed to happen in the previous move). Plantdrew (talk) 21:50, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
    • This sounds like a good idea but I'm not volunteering to do the work.  AjaxSmack  03:26, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
      • Not that much work is required. The cultural aspects were just recently brought into this article from mandrake (plant). Although there have been a few subsequent edits, reverting this article to the version prior to 25 March keeps it about the species. And the version of mandrake (plant) prior to 25 March just needs the taxobox and the minimal content about the genus removed. Plantdrew (talk) 14:54, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. Or else merge the material formerly of mandrake (plant) to the new Mandragora (genus) and redirect mandrake there, but this seems to me a lesser option. The main term "mandrake" should either be the title of an article on the plant(s) or else redirect to such an article. It should not be or redirect to an article merely about human uses or treatments of the plant(s). Given the apparent uncertainty among botanists, I see no reason to have separate articles on M. officinarum and M. autumnalis, in which case it is better to title this article "mandrake" and make it about the European members of Mandragora, however many there may turn out to be. Srnec (talk) 16:01, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
    But we don't have articles covering multiple species which happen to have the same common name; this would fail WP:PRECISION. So if reliable sources did agree that there were N species we would have N articles. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:56, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
    The point is that reliable sources do not agree on the number of European species of Mandragora. Are you suggesting we should pick one source and just go with it? I'm suggesting that since what we are calling (per some sources) Mandragora officinarum might be in fact more than one species (per some other sources), we should title the article "mandrake", which is indeed the common name for both species, if there are in fact two. This is in line with older usage ("male" and "female" mandrake) as well as newer. Srnec (talk) 17:26, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Srnec's proposal – Move to Mandrake and expand coverage to both European species. I don't think we're mandated to have a single article per species, and this makes a good case for an exception, as the RS don't agree on classification. Apart from that, folkloric and historic information, which makes the most of the text, applies to both. My second choice is to the same as Srnec's "lesser" one. No such user (talk) 19:23, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
    Ok, suppose we do that. There will need to be a substantial Taxonomy section to explain and justify the species, singular or plural, covered in the article, especially its taxobox. Will that make a coherent article along with all the other material? Is it what readers wanting to know about the historical, mythological and cultural aspects of mandrake(s) want to read?
    Also, although one article per plant species isn't mandated, it's difficult to meet WP:PLANTS#Scope and goals, particularly #2, without a complete article. I agree that here we could have one article, covering "Mandragora officinarum sensu lato", if that's what people really want. But it would need to cover all the botany properly. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:36, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
    Well, I think we could do that. The Jackson ref from Mandragora (genus) offers sufficient botanical coverage. We can't know what people really want, but we might try our best. Note that, as of A.D. 2015, Mandragora autumnalis is still a red link, so at least we won't be worse off than we're now. No such user (talk) 20:49, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
    I'm still researching Mandragora, and do intend to create the missing species articles, when I'm clearer about the taxonomy. There is a major paper not yet used in this or the genus article which I need to access. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:02, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
    What paper? Srnec (talk) 22:34, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
    @Srnec: I didn't have the full reference before, but now know it, and have managed to find it online: Ungricht, Stefan; Knapp, Sandra & Press, John R. (1998), "A revision of the genus Mandragora (Solanaceae)", Bulletin of the Natural History Museum (Botany Series), 28 (1): 17–40, retrieved 2015-03-31 . It's the last revision of the genus that I can find, even though 17 years old and not using the molecular phylogenetic approaches that would now be standard. The paper makes an impressive case that there is only one variable Mediterranean species. I'm not sure why the major online databases have different sets of species, other than to quote Ungricht et al.: "The confusion surrounding specific epithets for the taxon we are here calling Mandragora officinarum is incredible." I'm not clear as to the best approach: whether to continue to use multiple sources as per the current version of Mandragora § Taxonomy or treat this one as definitive. Certainly there are clear mistakes in Tropicos and The Plant List which render them less reliable than might be expected. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:32, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
That paper looks definitive. There is no more recent taxonomic work on the genus listed in Kew Bibliographic Databases. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:57, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── As a complete survey, I agree. However, I've since found Tu, Tieyao; Volis, Sergei; Dillon, Michael O.; Sun, Hang & Wen, Jun (2010). "Dispersals of Hyoscyameae and Mandragoreae (Solanaceae) from the New World to Eurasia in the early Miocene and their biogeographic diversification within Eurasia". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57 (3): 1226–1237. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.09.007. , which uses a different division of M. officinarum s.l. from that of Hawkes in Flora Europaea. Its M. autumnalis is a much smaller entity, closely related to M. turcomanica in a molecular phylogenetic tree.

Currently, it seems there are three competing definitions:

  1. The Flora Europaea one, in which the Mediterranean mandrake is largely M. autumnalis sensu Hawkes. This sense is widely used in the literature. For example this 2014 paper, Tuttolomondo, Teresa; Licata, Mario; Leto, Claudio; Savo, Valentina; Bonsangue, Giuseppe; Gargano, Maria Letizia; Venturella, Giuseppe & La Bella, Salvatore (2014), "Ethnobotanical investigation on wild medicinal plants in the Monti Sicani Regional Park (Sicily, Italy)", Journal of ethnopharmacology, 153 (3): 568–586, retrieved 2015-04-03 , includes the mandrake found in Scily under the name M. autumnalis.
  2. The Ungricht et al. one, in which the Mediterranean mandrake is M. officinarum. This is the main usage you get if you google "mandrake poisoning", for example, and look at the less botanical sources.
  3. The Volis one, in which the main "mandrake" around the Mediterranean is M. officinarum, but the species found in most of the Levant is the "autumn mandrake", M. autumnalis. In practice, it's hard to distinguish this sense from (1), since in both (1) and (3) the Levant species is M. autumnalis. However, the Floras of Israel, Jordan, etc. all use M. autumnalis.

I think it remains most sensible to separate out "mandrake" from the species of Mandragora, given the variation among reliable sources. All that can be said for a general audience is that the classical mandrake of the ancients is a plant found around the Mediterranean, which has been, and still is, divided up into species differently by different reliable sources. In most recent sources, it will be found as either M. officinarum L. or M. autumnalis Bertol., but with different circumscriptions of each species.

What is quite wrong is simply equating "mandrake" to M. officinarum, as the article currently does. In addition to the confusion over the species within Mandragora, reliable sources (such as this one) support Podophyllum peltatum being both known as and sold as "mandrake". "Mandrake" also refers to White Bryony (Bryonia alba), more precisely known as English Mandrake. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:25, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

But the proposed move eliminates that equation (mandrake=M. officinarum). Instead, the page can be about "a plant found around the Mediterranean, which has been, and still is, divided up into species differently by different reliable sources" without biasing the title for or against any particular division of species. Srnec (talk) 15:03, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
However, calling it a move is confusing. What is needed is a split, with the material about uses of all the various things called "mandrake" at a page called Mandrake, and discussion of each individual species at its own page, including how that species has been defined by different authors. Wonderful work @Peter coxhead:, you've expanded pages magnificently! Now if this "proposed move" can be put to bed, we can carry on with expanding the necessary pages. (I'd like for a user to be able to find something informative if they search for "male mandrake", "female mandrake", "spring mandrake".) Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:04, 4 April 2015 (UTC)


The articles remain very muddled at present as to their topic. No matter what the title, an article needs to be clear as to its topic. This version of "Mandragora (genus)" violates NPOV by discussing only one of the possible circumscriptions. The Plant List, based on WCSP (in review), separates Mandragora officinalis Mill. (syn. M. autumnalis Bertol.) from Mandragora officinarum L., in line with Flora Europaea. If this separation is upheld in future, both species are properly "mandrakes" – indeed "the" mandrake is much more likely to be Mandragora officinalis a.k.a. Mandragora autumnalis, since this is widespread in the Mediterranean, including Greece, whereas Mandragora officinarum is restricted to northern Italy and parts of former Yugoslavia. Much of the article supposedly about M. officinarum is about a mythical plant: mythical because there is no evidence to identify the plants given this name by translators as any particular species, let alone one of the species of Mandragora. The best solution, in my view, is to separate out the mythological, historical and cultural material into an article at "Mandrake", and keep short botanical articles at the genus and species. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:24, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

If there are to be separate articles for some or each of these iterations in the unresolved circumscription you mention, then it makes sense to separate out "mandrake" for the reasons you state, i.e. per WP:NCFLORA (the second paragraph here). But, if there is only one article (as there was until a stub at Mandragora [genus] was created a few days ago) then it should be at the common name of the plant. Either way, I support the proposed move above to keep the edit history of the former "Mandrake (plant)" article with the "mythological, historical and cultural material"; the botanical article(s) can be retain their respective histories.  AjaxSmack  16:59, 29 March 2015 (UTC) (Comments above amended 03:26, 30 March 2015 (UTC)).
But that information wasn't available at the previous RM. There, User:Plantdrew mentioned to Mandragora officinarum, the only species which occurs in Europe,, and you basically continued and proposed the current setup. I'm not trying to cast the blame, because I was the one who created the Mandragora (genus) and didn't read the Johnson reference [1] thoroughly either.
Now, the fact that there are probably two European species favors the proposal you just outlined: Mandrake could be an article about the cultural aspects (like this one now), and we could have several short botanical articles. However, I'm inclined to merge the Mandragora (genus) into Mandrake as well, because the cultural aspects apply to all (closely related) species of the whole genus. No such user (talk) 21:41, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think the cultural aspects really apply to all species. Cultural aspects are exclusively European/near Eastern, so do they really apply to the Chinese species? And the whole legend about screaming can't really be said to apply to any real species. Not all of the cultural aspects are even about plants in the genus Mandragora. The section on "mandrake" in the bible suggests several other plants that may have been meant by דודאים (dûdã'im). And we've got this quotation in the article, which is about another plant:

Would you like to make a Mandragora, as powerful as the homunculus (little man in a bottle) so praised by Paracelsus? Then find a root of the plant called bryony.

Split the cultural aspects and retain articles on the genus and species.Plantdrew (talk) 22:22, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
The more I read about the subject, the more I agree with this view. "Mandrake" is a bit like "unicorn": it has some basis in reality, but much is just mythological, and attributes of different plants have been mixed together. What's certain is that mythologically there isn't "a" mandrake; going back to Dioscorides and before there were considered to be at least two types: "male mandrakes" and "female mandrakes", which roughly correspond to the two European species recognized by most (but not all) sources. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:39, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Quick note[edit]

There is currently no consensus to have the article on mandrakes here, and never has been. If consensus develops here against the move, then by all means keep it here (and if consensus develops to move it back to mandrake, so much the better). But otherwise, I don't envy the closer's job in determining what to do with a "no consensus" result. Red Slash 04:13, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


In the meantime, Peter coxhead has done a major improvement on the Mandrake articles, with my minor involvement, for which I thank him, so that now the scientific material makes the majority of the contents. The research shows that the taxonomy of the Mandragora genus is kind of messy, with Mandragora officinarum probably being "the" Mandrake, but it is not so straightforward. In my opinion, the central issue is what to do with the material currently residing in the Mandragora officinarum#Folklore section, which kind of covers why the Mandrake is a culturally important plant. I see three possible solutions, without prejudice to future article titles:

  1. Split it to the article called Mandrake, with links to existing botanical articles (compare Grape:Vitis vinifera for a similar situation)
  2. Merge it to Mandragora, with the rationale that all the species of the genus are called "mandrake" and have similar cultural and folkloric tradition associated, and M. officinarum/M. autumnalis, the "mandrake proper" are/is the type species of the genus anyway
  3. Leave it within Mandragora officinarum, as the "mandrake proper", (but, again, which is unclear). Oh, I see Peter has made the article Mandragora autumnalis, discussing the taxonomy, so I think it's not an option at all.

After all, I'm leaning on option #1, also preferred by Peter, who has put his money where his mouth is. No such user (talk) 10:49, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Note that, for option 1, the edit history at Mandrake (plant) (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) actually contains most of the folklore stuff so it can be just moved to Mandrake and edited, with the least amount of mess. No such user (talk) 10:57, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Pinging User:Ebonelm, User:AjaxSmack, user:Srnec, user:GregKaye, User:Red Slash, User:RGloucesterYeah, I know, User:Sminthopsis84, User:Plantdrew for a comment. No such user (talk) 10:57, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Personally i think a move of content to Mandrake would give most utility. I've met Jews with Dod related names and this article content, at the least, would be informative for people like that. GregKaye 11:54, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Support option 1 - that option fits best with explaining the common name, and option 2 seems strange given that the Himalayan species is used as a substitute for ginseng. The Mandrake page should discuss Podophyllum peltatum and Bryonia alba as well as the Mandragora species, and ideally would have a picture of an actual mandrake, i.e., the witch-craft item, but the only image so far available seems to be this one, which being from Cornwall, is made from Bryonia alba. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:38, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Support option 1. Which is what I was leaning towards when I first commented on this on February 10. Plantdrew (talk) 21:42, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Support option 1, for two reasons:
    • Although I suspect that ultimately the separation of Mandragora officinarum, Mandragora autumnalis and Mandragora turcomanica into three species will not be accepted, at present the sources referenced in the three articles and the genus article simply don't add up to a consensus, so at least for now it's wrong to equate "mandrake" with Mandragora officinarum. Note in particular that the recent use of Mandragora autumnalis to refer to the plants native to the Levant means that if the biblical "mandrake"/"dudai'im" was a species of Mandragora it wouldn't have been M. officinarum but M. autumnalis; Floras of Israel all seem to use the name M. autumnalis for the native plants.
    • In many cases, including Biblical references, the botanical identity of the plant called "mandrake" or "mandragora" is simply impossible to determine for certain, and in some other cases it's clear that quite different plants are meant.
There's enough material to support a split. The new "Mandrake" article would, I suggest, begin something like this:
Mandrake is a poisonous plant, or more specifically its root, supposed since antiquity to have medical and magical properties. The plant can sometimes be identified as belonging to the genus Mandragora, particularly the species found around the Mediterranean (either Mandragora officinarum alone or this species and Mandragora autumnalis, depending on the source). In ancient writings the botanical identity of the mandrake cannot be determined for certain. Quite different plants, such as bryony (Bryonia), are also called mandrakes.
Peter coxhead (talk) 21:50, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I oppose option 1. The word mandrake does not refer to stuff about mandrakes. It refers to mandrakes. I am not opposed to a content split. I am opposed to mis-titling a page that is only about an aspect of the mandrake. I don't care whether mandrake redirects to the page about officinarum or the genus. I am not sure a separate article on autumnalis is necessary. Merging it into officinarum and moving the page to "mandrake" is, I suspect, the best option. While we're at it. mandragora redirects to Mandragora (genus), which is improper; it should be moved. It seems the plant people don't like having too much folklore in their botanical articles, but don't care much about owning the word "mandrake". I don't get it. Srnec (talk) 22:58, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
@Srnec: I had hoped that a separate article on Mandragora autumnalis wouldn't be necessary, but if we put M. officinarum and M. autumnalis in the same article it would be taking sides in a taxonomic dispute as to the number of species. Currently, there are reliable sources that treat them as two species, and we must reflect this.
Yes, it was improper that Mandragora redirected to Mandragora (genus); this has now been fixed.
I'm very happy to have folklore in a botanical article, but there's a precondition: the folklore must relate to the botany. There's no evidence that the biblical "mandrake" was even a Mandragora species, so how can it be right to discuss it in an article titled Mandragora officinarum? Peter coxhead (talk) 16:19, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
We aren't taking sides by putting M. officinarum and M. autumnalis in the same article if we title that article Mandrake. We're talking about on article on a possible species complex. In any case, the concern with which this whole thing began (that "mandrake" was not terribly ambiguous) has been addressed adequately and is addressed in all subsequent proposals. Srnec (talk) 17:18, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Do you have a reliable source that says M. officinarum and M. autumnalis are a species complex? If not, it would be OR to treat them as such. Currently some reliable sources say they are one species, some say they are two. (For what it's worth, i.e. nothing, I personally think they are one species.)
How about all the biblical stuff relating to "mandrake" – where would you put that, given that there's no evidence the plant(s) involved are Mandragora? Peter coxhead (talk) 22:33, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
I didn't say we should treat them as a species complex, only that we should put them in a single article. If one article is "taking sides", then so is two. Srnec (talk) 23:29, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
It's difficult to handle such cases neutrally – on that we can agree. I don't think that two articles takes sides to the same degree as one does, so long as the two articles are clear that there is disagreement. However, whatever the number of articles, I don't think that the current content of the Folklore section belongs in them, since, as I've said above, all the biblical material is very doubtfully related to Mandragora. Anyway, enough from me – we must agree to disagree, I think. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:38, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Split, I guess, but when people look for information about mandrakes, they should find it at an article called mandrake, period. Red Slash 00:31, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. And this is what a split will achieve. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:19, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
So long as the article is not a jumble of folklore trivia, I can live with a split. Srnec (talk) 17:18, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Changes of 4 August[edit]

Major changes were made to this article and to Mandrake by Red Slash. I've reverted them. There was no consensus in the discussion above. A change of this magnitude needs discussion.

The versions I reverted had several problems:

  • If "Mandrake" is to be the genus article, as its text suggested, then Mandragora (genus) needs to be fixed as well.
  • The taxobox left at "Mandrake" was for the species M. officinarum, but the article seemed to be about the genus as a whole.
  • There were huge overlaps between the new versions of "Mandrake", "Mandragora officinarum" and "Mandragora (genus)". Summaries of material in one article in another are fine, but not wholesale duplication.
  • Although the Chinese species is/are given English names including the word "mandrake", there's no evidence that historically "mandrake" refers to any plant other than the Mediterranean mandrake, however it is divided into species, so I don't accept that "Mandrake" should say that it refers to any plant in the genus.

Peter coxhead (talk) 06:03, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

We still have some persisting problems: (1) that "a mandrake" is the artifact made from a plant root (2) in Britain, where Mandragora did not grow, Bryonia alba was the plant from which these artifacts were made, and was consequently a quite well-known species in that context, although referred to specifically as English mandrake or false mandrake (3) ignoring the use of "mandrake" for Podophyllum peltatum is a Eurocentric view unbecoming to wikipedia. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:30, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
We can discuss changes on this article if need be; I think it duplicates the content at mandrake. But at mandrake itself, if you don't think we should have an article there, please use WP:AFD. Red Slash 15:35, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
I had thought there was an agreement to split mandrake into a separate articles. I certainly don't think anybody was advocating deleting mandrake. I don't see any major problems with Red Slash's edits to the Mandragora officinarum article (though I'm not entirely happy with the phrasing of the lead sentence). There are some problems with edits to Mandrake though. It shouldn't have a taxobox, and detailed morphological descriptions of Mandragora species don't belong there. Plantdrew (talk) 18:32, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
@Plantdrew: Well, I didn't see any agreement to split, but if you say there was, I'll accept your word. I've made a start on sorting out the mess that Red Slash created, but quite a bit more work is needed. I do strongly believe that this should have been discussed first, as there was a clear prior discussion to be taken into account. However, now that it's been done:
  • Mandrake should be about the mythological plant, regardless of its botanical origin, i.e. including the English mandrake (there needs to be more about this). The botany should be minimized.
  • The herbal/mythological stuff at Mandragora officinarum should be reduced since it belongs at Mandrake.
I don't at present feel like spending any more time on it, when vandalism is the reward for previous efforts. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:58, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Srnec is the only one I see opposing a split in the "Rehash" section above. You, me, Sminthopsis and Red Slash all supported a split (perhaps reluctantly on the part of Red Slash). Plantdrew (talk) 20:37, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Well, it was quite some time post-discussion, and nobody had done anything, and I thought it was silly to not have an article on mandrakes in an encyclopedia. So I wrote something, since nobody else was going to. I don't disrespect anyone here, but we almost all had agreed on splitting the article, and I actually did it. There you have it. Do what you like to improve it, or leave it be, but there should be an article about mandrakes at mandrake. Red Slash 23:13, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
@Red Slash: since you didn't explain what you intended, which would have been helpful, I had to judge by what you did, which was (and to some extent remains) not a "split" but a wholesale duplication between articles.
On a side issue, converting articles to redirects is not "deletion" and does not need to go through any formal process; it goes on all the time when found to be more appropriate (e.g. synonyms with separate articles). Peter coxhead (talk) 08:03, 5 August 2015 (UTC)