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The highs, lows and health hazards of Herbology

Where most Muggles’ biology lessons might involve planting cress or dissecting leaves, Herbology classes at Hogwarts were liable to be a more dangerous affair.

A screaming mandrake seedling in a Herbology Lesson
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

From studying Mandrakes, whose screams can literally kill you, to the rather unpleasant task of harvesting Bubotuber pus, it’s amazing that student wizards ever made it out of the school alive, much less with their O.W.L.s!

Working with plants at Hogwarts could be, simply, disgusting...
Extracting the Bubotuber’s thick, yellowy pus, for example, is not a task for those of a delicate constitution.

…and very, very messy
A generous coating of Stinksap, the smell of which is like ‘rancid manure’, may turn some green-fingered wizards and witches equally green-faced.

Plants are packed full of magical uses...
From solving skincare problems with acne-banishing Bubotuber pus, to pursuing underwater adventures with gill-growing Gillyweed.

…though they can be quite violent
Fanged Geraniums are nasty nippers, and Bouncing Bulbs are heavy hitters. Beware!

Some plants are painful, others lethal...
It is common knowledge that the cry of a fully matured Mandrake, if heard, is likely to be fatal. Earmuffs on!

…and the dangers can be difficult to spot...
Devil’s Snare and Flitterbloom look strikingly similar to each other. Unfortunately, one savagely strangles its victims with dextrous vines, whilst the other is completely harmless.

…but the rewards are vast
Sourcing your own potion ingredients can save a Galleon or two, for starters. But some herbs could actually heal serious afflictions. Dittany can quickly cure nasty wounds, and mistletoe berries are essential to a well-brewed antidote to common poisons. Very helpful!

Sprout holds a mandrake in her greenhouse.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets