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Vegetable scarecrow

Breed and topiarise a shrub which scares vermin off
  [vote for,

There is a myth and a fanciful imagining that mandrakes have human-shaped roots. I suppose if you were that way inclined, pareidolia might make you think it was true. However, unless the pest you wish to scare is a mole with X-ray vision and the root is high in relatively heavy elements, perhaps calcified, this is not likely to be useful to you as an agri- or horticulturist.

What we need to do then is to breed a shrub which looks like a human, topiarising it appropriately to increase the resemblance and perhaps also making it smell nasty to a potential crop-purloiner: an upside-down mandrake that produces human screams as the wind blows through its branches, that stinks of citronella or something equally repellent to the relevant entities, maybe a composite entity with epiphytic herbs on its boughs.

The actual species involved would vary according to the climate and conditions, but it could have grass growing on its "head", smellies on its armpits and so on, and maybe dressed in special vegetable vestments.

While we're at it, we need to remedy the problem of all those naked trees and knit them meaty jumpers or something, but that's not for here.

nineteenthly, Aug 14 2014

A Modern Herbal | Mandrake http://www.botanica...gmh/m/mandra10.html
...about half-way down. [zen_tom, Aug 18 2014]

knitted meaty jumpers http://fbcdn-photos...9756940625829_n.jpg
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Aug 18 2014]


       //upside-down mandrake that produces human screams as the wind blows through its branches//   

       Somehow I find myself thinking of Cthulhu again.
Skewed, Aug 14 2014

       well well well, there's a turnip for the books.
po, Aug 18 2014

       That fanciful imagining is hard to shake, since Peter Treveris apparently first poo-poo'ed it in 1526:   

       "There have been,' he says, 'many ridiculous tales brought up of this plant, whether of old wives or runnegate surgeons or phisick mongers, I know not, all which dreames and old wives tales you shall from henceforth cast out your bookes of memorie."   

       (Nicked from link above)   

       That's very nearly 500 years of poo-poohing right there! You'd think we'd have collectively taken on-board the pooh by now.   

       Having said that, pretty much any botanical that has psychoactive properties tends to have associated with it all sorts of old-fashioned romanticisms.
zen_tom, Aug 18 2014

       I was not aware of the "Mandrake" till now. Or if I knew I had forgot. After reading about it, because of this idea, I now am going out to look for some so I can yank them up from the ground and see who dies. Very weird. So I like the idea because it motivated me to learn something new today. Yay.
blissmiss, Aug 18 2014


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