Skip to main content

Table 4 D. Magic and witchcraft: D1. Black magic, sorcery, witchcraft; D2. Evil supernatural agents—Satan, devil, genie, monster, dragon; D3. White magic, good luck, talisman, dolls

From: In search of traces of the mandrake myth: the historical, and ethnobotanical roots of its vernacular names

Language/subcategory Name Ethnic transcription Meaning Selected references
D1
Dutch toverwortel, tooverwortel   [“magic root”] [146: 940]; [158: 255]; [159: 333]; [28: 71]; [105: 35]
Dutch heksenkruid   [“witches’ herb”] [146: 940]; [105: 35]
Dutch heksen loverwortel   [“witches’ love root”] [28: 71]; [31: 45]
English sorcerer’s root    [12: 166]; [109: 70]
English enchanter’s nightshade    [54: 354]
English witches’ herb    [149: 316]
Estonian nöiajuua   [“magic root”] Dainius Razauskas (Pers. Com.12.3.19)
French herbe aux, magicien, herbe des magiciens   [“magician’s plant”] [160: 91]; [28: 71]; [31: 43]; [29: 336]
German hexenkraut   [“witches’ herb”] [83: 258]; [119: 137]; [28: 71]
German zauberwurzel, zauberwurz   [“magic root”] [75: 229]; [134, III: 53]; [31: 42]; [30: 335]; [114: 15]; [28: 71]; [80: 19]
Hungarian varázsgyökér   [“magic/miracle root”] [161: 151]
Serbo-Croatian [skocelj / skočac] Cкoцeљ / Cкoчaц The word “skakati” means jump, leap. Probably related to beliefs in a very “alive,” restless, and troublous root, especially when pulled out from the soil / of “skocelj”; “skočac” means one who jumps [71: 20]
Russian [koldunova trava] кoльдyнoвa тpaвa [“sorcerer’s herb”] [83: 259]; [162: 1129]
D2
Arabic [bēḍ el-ġūl] بيض الغول [“monster’s eggs”] [163: 34] (North Africa); [129: 167]; [92: 26]; AGK pers. obs. (Palestine)
Arabic [beiḍ el- ğinn] بيض الجنّ [“genie’s eggs”] [164: 114]; [165, II: 261] (Palestine)
Arabic [bayḍ al- ġūl, bayḍ el- ġūl] بيض الغول [“Goula’s (witches’) eggs”] [166: 47] (Morocco)
Arabic [xawx el- ğinn] خوخ الجنّ [“the Jin's Peach”] [167] (Lebanon)
Arabic [luffāḥ el- ğinn] لفّاح الجنّ [“the burning (or
emitting a good odor) fruit of the Genie”]
[129: 167]; [92: 26] (North Africa)
Arabic [tuffāḥ il-mağal] تفّاح المَجَل Probably derivative
of Tuffāḥ il Mağann
[168, I: 250] (Palestine, Gaza area)
Arabic [tuffāḥ il- ġūla] تفّاح الغولة [“Goula’s apple”] [163: 34] (Morocco)
Arabic [tuffāḥ al- ğinn,
Spelling variants:
tuffāḥ al-mağânîn, tuffāḥ al-mağan,
tuffāḥat al -ğinn]
تفَاح الجنَ
تفَاح المجانين! /
تفّاح المجن/ تفّاحة الجنّ
[“apple of the Genie/
apple of the genies”]
[84: 351] (Andalusia, 6–7th c.); [87: 54] (Arabia, 10–11th c.); [169, II: 21]; [170: 577] (Palestine); [164: 114]; [171: 87]; [172: 248] (Moorish Spain); [41: 121]; [89: 299] (Palestine); [90: 115]; [173: 73] (Palestine)
Arabic [tuffāḥ eš-šayṭān] تفّاح الشيطان [“apple of Satan”] [174: 587] (Palestine); AGK Pers. Obs. (Palestine)
Czech divelsappl   [“devil’s apple”] [29: 346]
Dutch duivelsplant   [“devil’s plant”] [29: 346]
Dutch appeldragend   [“dragon’s apple”] ]83: 258]; [28: 71]
Dutch duivelsete   [“devil’s food”] [29: 3346]
English devil’s apple    [175: 209]; [159: 332]; [176: 24]; [179: 64]
English devil’s food    [180: 60]; [181: 85]
English dragon’s doll    [149: 316]; [109: 70]
English Satan’s testicle    [149: 316]
German drachenpuppe   [“dragon’s puppet”] [30: 331]; [114: 15]; [80: 19]; [81: 23]
German satansapfel   [“satan’s apple”] [151: 693]; [81: 23]
German teufelsapfel   [“devil’s apple”] [134, III: 53]; [28]; [31: 42]; [30: 335]
German unholdwurz   [“demon’s root”] [134, III: 53]; [28: 71]; [31: 42]; [30: 335]
German unholdkraut   [“demon’s herb”] [75: 229]; [28: 71]
German wichtelmännchen   [“Imp”] [120: 113]; [31: 42]; [30: 337]
Greek [kalánthropos] καλάνθρωπος [“Goblin”] because their root looks like Kalikántzaros, the goblin in Greek folklore [177]
Hungarian ördögalma   [“devil’s apple”] [178]
Polish czartawa   [“the demon
flower”]
[12: 164]
Turkish cinelması   [“ghost’s apple”] [73: 107]; [41: 124]
Turkish şeytan şalgamı   [“Satan’s turnip”] [41: 12]
D3
French plante qui chante   [“singing plant”]
(see text)
[28: 71]
German geldmännlein,
geldmännchen
  [“little money-man”]/[“money manikin”] [83: 258]; [114: 15]; [29, II: 343]
German glücksmännlein,
glücksmännchen
  [“little fortune-man”]/[“good luck manikin”] [182: 88]; [120: 113]; [29, II: 343]
German hausväterchen   [“little house father”] [114]; [27: 344]; [81: 23]
German hinzelmannchen   [“gnome”] [118: 355]; [119: 137]