According to the seventeenth-century traveler Jan Struys, a
zoaphite was a species of cucumber that fed on neighboring
plants. Its fruit had the form of a lamb, with the head, feet, and
tail of that animal distinctly apparent, and it is thus called, in
the language of the country, Canaret, or Conarer, signifying a
lamb. Struys described this plant in his book Drie aanmerkelijke
en seer rampspoedige (1676), translated as The Voyages and Travels
of Jan Struys (1684).
Its skin was covered with a white down. The ancient Tartars
thought a great deal of it and most of them kept it carefully in
their houses, where Jan Struys says he saw it several times.
It grew on a stalk about three feet in height, to which it was
attached by a sort of tendril. On this tendril it could move about
and turn and bend toward the herbs on which it fed, and without
which it soon dried up and withered. Wolves loved it, devouring
it with avidity, because, reportedly, it tasted like the
flesh of a lamb. The author added that he had been assured
that it had bones, flesh, and blood, thus being known in its native
country as zoaphite, or animal plant.