It is to the Nilometer [a submerged building built to measure and predict the Nile’s clarity and water level] that the island of Rods [Rhoda/Rawdah] owes its fame, and there is little else that the visitor will find worth seeing beyond plantations, houses, and the modest tomb of a sheykh, unless we mention a venerable Mandoorah-tree with spreading branches, called by the Arabs Hakeem-kebeer, the “great physician,” to which they make pilgrimages in order to be cured of fevers and other disorders. The devotees kneel down at its root, and its boughs are thickly hung with fragments of cloth of every description, the votive-offerings of the sick and thank-offerings of the convalescent. Its sanctity is so highly esteemed that the pilgrims regarded Herr Welsch’s wish to sketch it as sacrilege, and it was only by force and cunning that he succeeded in completing his portrait of this vegetable physician
A legend has been preserved which says that this tree was planted by Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, but I could not trace its origin. Siyootee, who died in 1506, does not allude to it.
—Georg Ebers: Egypt: Descriptive, Historical, and Picturesque, Volume 1 (1878)