Last month I made a post about The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, ‘a legendary zoophyte of Central Asia, believed to grow sheep as its fruit.’ Better than that, however, is the ‘creature’ depicted in the above image.
At The Natural History Museum in London, in a ‘locked, temperature-controlled, insect-proof room, you can see such wonders as the Vegetable Lamb Of Tartary, an amusingly shaped fern rhizome thought by gullible 17th-century naturalists to prove that animals could grow from the earth like plants.’ The lamb is part of a collection belonging to Sir Hans Sloane. [Source]
In 1698, Sir Hans Sloane, the founder of the British Museum , receive[d] a specimen presented to him as a lamb tartare brought from India. He realise[d], however, [that] it is the rhizome Cibotium barometz, a Chinese species of fern, cut to resemble a sheep. This specimen is still exposed to the Garden Museum in London. [Source]