A man named Fan spotted a perfect, anatomically correct, couple crafted from the root of a Chinese fleeceflower. He bought the anthropomorphic tuber in a vegetable stall in China’s eastern Shandong province, paying 600 yuan (about $20).
Now I don’t know about you, but this sounds like the mythical mandrake root. This legendary vegetable borders on the animal kingdom. It will shriek when removed from the ground, driving the listeners mad. It sprouts where the semen of a hanged man drips to the earth. I’m not quite sure why it’s a hanged man and not a man beheaded or dispatched any other way. Perhaps the length of time the body rots has something to do with it. Also, perhaps I’m over thinking this, but aren’t most men hanged clothed? I mean, how will the semen dribble to the ground? Along the pant leg? Assuming a decent amount of absorption from the fabric, that would be a monumental amount of semen.
The actual root looks rather benign, not as striking as what the Chinese shopper picked up. Of course it’s used in all sorts of magic rituals. The word mandrake means “love fruit” in Hebrew. There are supposedly male and female versions. The male is white and the female is black.
Another fruit gained the name “love apple”, though this boasts no anthropomorphic features whatsoever. The tomato, staple of Italian pizzerias the world over, was mistakenly lumped into the nightshade family alongside the mandrake. It seems the wise Renaissance botanists thought the tomato, which arrived from the New World, was poisonous. It was primarily used as decoration because heaven forbid you actually taste one. Those savages from the Americas had no idea what they were doing.
Interestingly the Italian name for tomato is pomo d’oro, or golden apple because the first to reach Europe was the yellow variety. Again, this sparks my memory of the Golden Apple and Paris’ rather daunting dilemma. Perhaps the yellow color reminded Italians of upsetting the gods, or at least the goddesses. This would jive with the aspect of love. Paris’ love, or at least serious infatuation, with Helen led him to kidnap the Spartan princess. Now that I think of it, you can’t blame the Italians for not taking a bite.
However you can eat the root of the Chinese fleeceflower, no matter how odd it looks. It’s boiled and used to reduce cholesterol and fight heart disease. Fan won’t be setting tuber to pot anytime soon. People have come from miles around to see his foot-long pornographic plant.
Information on Fan’s fantastic discovery comes from the Daily Mail (January 26, 2008). Other information derived from Wikipedia.