Even arachnophobes may be well-disposed to this spider, who dates to the 1499 publication of the Hortus Sanitatis (here he appears in our 1517 edition). Spiders were often depicted in early printed books using pictographic shapes, drawing on an earlier medieval tradition. Here, our spider scrambles up a tightly circular web, his thorax evenly studded in a grid design. He may not look scary, but the accompanying text offers strong evidence that this spider might have caused worry, just as J.K. Rowling's giant spider Aragog did. The authors of this early modern tome included several botanical remedies for spider bites.
Hands on your ears! This winsome mandrake pair can be found in the fifteenth-century Hortus Sanitatis (in Latin, “garden of health”). Study up on this German text's directions for removing these screaming plants from the ground (pro tip: get your dog to help), and you'll be sure to win high marks from Herbology Professor Pomona Sprout. The bifurcations in the plants roots, resembling human bodies, have been associated with magical ritual since classical times.