The vegetable Lamb of Tartary

The fool name of The vegetable lamb of Tartary was planta Tartarica Barometz. It was thought to be tiny sheep growing on plants, when it was actually just cotton. Travelers from Europe did not know anything about cotton, so they thought it was wool. Since wool came from sheep, they believed the puffs of cotton were mini sheep.

It was believed for the plant to bend and let the sheep graze on the grass beneath it, and once all the grass was gone, the tiny sheep would fall off and run away, leaving the plant to die. It was actually a species of fern ‘Cibetium Barometz’. The ‘body’ of the vegetable lamb is the stem.

In another tale, the vegetable lamb grew in Tartary and the seed developed into what seemed like a large melon growing on a stalk two feet above ground. Once the melon split, a wooly lamb appeared, which rotated around the stalk, grazing on all the grass within reach. After all of it was eaten, the vegetable lamb would die.

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