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Josephus described a fruit, similary with Tacticus, growing near the area of Sodom, "externally of fair apperance, but turning to smoke and ashes when plucked with the hands." Seetzen, Irby, Mangles, described it in "Biblical Researches in Palestine" as a tree averaging ten to fifteen feet in height, with gray bark, called osher by Arabs. It also appears in upper Egypt and in Arabian peninsula. In Palestine it is located around the Dead Sea.

Scientificaly it is known as hermannii, and Solanum Sodomeum. Similar plants are found in New Zealand, Australia, and North America. The fruit resembles a large smooth apple, hanging in clusters of three or four, and when ripe it turns yellow. It looks fair and ripe, when touched, it explodes with a puff leaving shred of thin outer crust and a few fibers. The fruit is full of air and at the center there is fine silk.

The biblical passage, "their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter" (Deut. 32:32) may or may not be refering to the fruit.

"One, two, three,
It is the sweet gone bad,
One, two, three,
You can't learn to ---- stale
I've got something you can never eat,

Marilyn Manson, Apple of Sodom.

References:

http://www.weeds.org.au/cgi-bin/weedident.cgi?tpl=plant.tpl&state=&s=&ibra=all&card=S18
http://www.rnzih.org.nz/pages/solanumlinnaeanum.htm
http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1667&letter=A
http://www.dipbot.unict.it/sistematica/0850_007.html

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