Before we sorted it all out with science, botanists and historians from centuries past had some amazing stories to tell of creatures seen during their research or in their travels which they documented with illustrations, testimonials, and even eye-witness accounts.
“Instead of roots, a small, muddy, and extremely ugly baby popped out of the earth. The leaves were growing right out of his head.” (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling)
As early as 442 b.c.e., the Greek historian Herodotus mentions a Borametz, or Lamb Plant: “it lives by means of its navel: if its navel be cut, it cannot live. This is the animal called Jeduah.”
The Lamb Plant (aka, The Borametz): is mentioned in a Medieval fable, The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. When first planted, the seed was similar to that of a melon and produced a large pod that hung from the center of the plant. When the fruit-pod ripened, it burst open revealing a little lamb with very white wool and rooted at the navel.
Botanist (and judge) Claude Duret depicted such an animal-plant in his book, Histoire Admirable des Plantes (1605), devoting an entire chapter to the creature, seen below grazing from its stem.
Pictured below, The Vegetable Lamb by Henry Lee, 1887.
The Lamb Plant, or Borametz, is also included in botanist John Parkinson’s 1629 “Paradisi in sole Paradisus Terrestris.”
The woodcut, below, depicts a strange tree whose leaves, after they fell to the ground, fled with little feet, as recorded by Duret in his botanical book of facts Histoire Admirable des Plantes (1605).
The Carnivorous Plant or The Man Eating Tree of Madagascar
Above The Ya-Te-Veo by J. W. Buel, 1887. An “elephantine” Venus Fly trap is how a journalist for the South Australian Register of 1881 described a human sacrifice he witnessed, writing in horrifying detail: “the tendrils…like giant green serpents, with brutal energy and infernal rapidity, rose, retracted themselves, and wrapped her about….”