Lotus-eaters were the fabulous people who ate the lotus plant and as a result wanted to stay in 'Lotusland' for ever. Odysseus landed here and had to drag his men away by force. The difficulty is that no one really seems sure what the lotus in the classical stories actually was, even whether it was a herb, a root or a tree.

Herodotus and Pliny thought it was some kind of fruit; Eustathius (a twelfth-century classical scholar) thought it was a herb, like the lily; Polybius (a Greek historian of about 200 BG) thought it was a tree with fruit like myrtle berries tasting like dates but 'of a far better smell'.

Today many naturalists think it may have been the jujube-tree {Zizyphus lotus). The actual Greek word for the plant, however (lotos), is of obscure origin, but perhaps derives from a Hebrew word. The Greek name for the Lotus-eaters was Lotophagoi.