Dependable Claude Duret French botanist, dedicated a chapter in his book Histoire Admirable des Plantes (1605) to ‘The Boramets of Scythia, or Tartary, actual Zoophytes or plant-animals; meaning plants that are living and sensitive like animals.’ He did not assert to have witnessed the vegetable lamb, but validated Mandeville’s tale and provided additional information from a fifth-century Hebrew document, which was part of the collection that included the earliest written versions of the Genesis creation myths. The creature was referred to as adnei hasadeh in Hebrew, which translates to ‘lord of the field’. The object resembled a lamb and had a stem emerging from its navel that was connected to the earth. The lamb was able to eat all the vegetation within its reach due to the length of the trunk or stem. It expired.

Explorers and journalists started uncovering and expanding upon other aspects of the creature’s remarkable existence. The creature possessed four limbs and split hooves. The skin was delicate and woolly. It lacked actual horns, but its lengthy head hairs were twisted together resembling vertical pigtails. Only wolves preyed on the Borametz, a term of Tartar origin meaning lamb. However, humans were familiar with its gastronomic attributes, which, consistent with its mythical nature, transcended biological boundaries. The blood was as sweet as honey. The flesh had a flavor reminiscent of crab or crayfish.

Baron von Herbenstein, the German envoy to Russia, shared a narrative that he believed supported the Borametz’s woolly nature, albeit the details are based on second or third-hand reports. Guillaume Postel, a knowledgeable man, informed me that Michel claimed to have witnessed the fine and delicate wool of a specific plant near Samarkand. This wool was reportedly used by Muslims as padding for their small caps and as protection for their chests. The story had become part of Christian imagery by the end of the sixteenth century. In his 1578 poem La Semaine, French writer Guillaume de Saluste portrays the plant as a creature that caught Adam’s interest as he roamed the Garden naming everything. He turns its paradoxical properties into a conundrum.
Claude Duret French botanist,  chapter in his book Histoire Admirable des Plantes

The flyleaf of the early editions of John Parkinson’s seventeenth-century horticultural manual, Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris, in Britain, features an illustration of ‘Adam and Eve admiring the plants in the Garden of Eden’. Among a lush assortment of apples, palms, lilies, cyclamens, and tulips, there is a depiction of ‘Adam and Eve appreciating the plants in the Garden of Eden’ on the stunning long-haired woman. Amid a lush assortment of fruits and flowers, including apples, palms, lilies, cyclamens, and tulips, there is a distinct veggie lamb attached to its stem, with plenty of food still available.

As the Enlightenment began, people started to view this fantastic narrative with more skepticism. Some dried remains, believed to be former Borametz plants, were found in European museums, but none of the donors had seen the actual living plant. The anecdote was consistently relayed by a coworker who had encountered it in the memoirs of an armchair explorer. It was suspected that the item in question was a common but unidentified plant or object, inaccurately documented, and exaggerated through indirect gossip and mysterious stories. Dr. Engelbrecht Kaempfer, a surgeon for the Dutch East India Company in the late 17th century, was the first scientist to question the idea.

His quest to find the ‘zoophyte eating on grass’ was unsuccessful, but he came upon a type of sheep native to the region near the Caspian Sea that had remarkably delicate skin and fine wool. A local ritual involved murdering pregnant ewes to obtain the even finer fleeces of the unborn lambs. Their skin was as thin as vellum. Upon drying, it shrank and took on a shape that could mislead those who are uninformed and gullible into thinking it was a woolly gourd. Kaempfer thought that the dried skins were the ones that ended up in European collections and were shown as specimens of the zoophyte’s fleece.

Sir Hans Sloane presented another desiccated object to the Royal Society members in 1698, with a more believable explanation. For the following 200 years, this artifact was considered the origin of the entire vegetarian lamb mythos. The object was a section of the rhizome of a tree fern from China, approximately one foot in length and as wide as a man’s wrist. It had been roughly carved to resemble a sheep’s head and four legs made from the stalks. The object was coated with yellowish down, measuring a quarter of an inch in thickness in some areas. An exquisite artificial plant. In the seventeenth century, several carved root stocks from the tree-fern genus Dicksonia were observed in Asia. They were created as playthings and objects of interest, often sold to naive travelers as something with a more enigmatic Eastern origin.