For today’s post, I’ll consider a few fictional plants from fantasy fiction. There are so many animals that it might be a bit too much to choose just a few.
In Harry Potter
There are quite a few of both in the Potterverse, some of the animals from mediaeval heraldry, others imagined by the author. But Herbology classes, under the amazing Professor Sprout, are fascinating. Some of the plants don’t appear till later in the series.
Gillyweed, for example, turns up in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. Harry doesn’t know about it until Dobby tells him(it was Neville in the film). Harry needs something to help him breathe underwater. The gillyweed is disgusting and slimy, but works.
Devil’s Snare is another imagined plant. It appeared in the first novel, when our three heroes were on their way to look for the Philosopher’s Stone. It tangles itself around you and the more you struggle, the tighter it gets. Fortunately, Hermione has the spell for light which makes it let go.
Mandrakes are real plants, which have medicinal properties, but you will never find ones like those in the Potterverse, which look like ugly babies when you first dig them up and mature into adults, which have a cry that can kill you. They are used, in Chamber of Secrets, to restore the people(and one cat) frozen by the basilisk.
In The Lord Of The Rings
Athelas - a healing plant which can bring back dying people from the very edge, but I got the impression it only works if the rightful king uses it. When Aragorn asks for it and describes it to a nurse at the Houses of Healing, she says it’s very common, and who knew you could use it!
Elanor - a pretty, white star-shaped flower from the Elves’ home of Lothlorien. Sam Gamgee names his eldest daughter Elanor, as Hobbit girls have flower or gem names and that is the most beautiful flower he can think of.
Mallorn trees - found in Lothlorien. The Elves have their treehouses in them and Sam plants one at home when he is healing the Shire from the damage done by the invaders in the Scouring of the Shire.
Simbelmynë - a flower that grows all year long, mostly on burial mounds of the kings and is known as Evermind.
Oh, and there is “sweet galenas”, which is the Gondorian name for tobacco! The Hobbits call it pipeweed. One way or another, you put it in a pipe and smoke it. I suspect it isn’t our kind of tobacco, so have included it here.
In the Middle Ages, it was believed that geese grew from a barnacle tree - makes me think of the kitten tree in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan novel Cetaganda. Mind you, the kitten tree was a piece of bizarre genetic engineering on display at a fair. Miles Vorkosigan’s cousin, Ivan, thought someone had had the bad taste to glue kittens on to a tree and unwittingly killed a kitten that wasn’t ripe by pulling it off the tree.
|Barnacle geese tree described by Gerald of Wales|
In the same universe, we read about brillberries, native Barrayaran fruit which, for some reason, are edible by humans when nothing else seems to be.
We also see a bonsai’d skellytum tree, normally a tall Barrayaran tree, which is carefully looked after by a Barrayaran woman living on Komarr, a colony world, in the novel of the same name and its sequel, A Civil Campaign.
Greek mythology has moly, a plant described in Homer’s Odyssey. There has been much discussion of what it might be in the real world, but whatever it is, there is no way it does what the moly in the Odyssey can do. Odysseus, knowing that the goddess Circe has turned his men into pigs, takes this plant into his mouth to protect him from having the same happen to him, before persuading her to turn his men back. Mind you, he does have to sleep with her to do that!
There are plenty more imagined plants in fiction and legend - can you think of some?