A plant that shrieks when it is pulled from the earth
The mandrake is a plant; its roots grow in human form, male and female, and shriek when torn from the ground. It is of great use in medicine, but anyone who hears the plant's cry dies or goes mad. It was therefore a custom to tie a hungry dog to the plant by a cord and place a piece of meat beyond its reach. To get at the meat the dog tugs at the cord and drags up the plant, while its master remains safely out of hearing.
The mandrake grows in the East, near the Earthly Paradise (i.e. garden of Eden).
In order to conceive, the female elephant must eat some mandrake root.