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Sopophorous bean

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Sopophorous bean
Sopophorous bean
Species information
Related to

Bean (possibly)




Potion ingredient

"The sopophorous bean was proving very difficult to cut up."

The Sopophorous bean is a shrivelled bean with magical properties and an ingredient in potion-making.


2 026

Harry Potter crushing the sopophorous bean

The Sopophorous bean is used as an ingredient for the Draught of Living Death.[1] The potion's current instructions, as featured in Advanced Potion-Making by Libatius Borage, say to cut the bean in order to release the juice within. However, this can prove very difficult,[1] and the bean may bounce when punctured with the blade of a knife.[2]

However, crushing the bean with the flat side of a silver knife is a more simple and effective method of obtaining the juice, as suggested by the Half-Blood Prince, alias Severus Snape.[1]


The prefix "Sopo-" most likely comes from the Latin sopor meaning "deep sleep". The suffix "-phorous" is more elusive, though it could quite possibly have the same etymological roots as the "-phorus" in "phosphorus" (a chemical element) - in this case "phos-" and "-phorus" come from the Greek φως (fo̱s in the Latin script, meaning light) and φέρω (féro̱ in the Latin script, meaning bringer or carrier) respectively. Hence, "Sopophorus" would read as "bringer of deep sleep", which is appropriate given its use as an ingredient in the Draught of Living Death.

Also, it is a possible allusion to the plant historically used by the Native American shamans of the ancient Southwest, the mescal bean (Sophora Secundiflora). These beans also have a very hard shell and were split open and made into various concoctions that were then imbibed by the user in spiritual ceremonies. The sophora beans were described to put the user into a coma-like trance where the other elements of the magic ceremony could be carried out.


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