This week’s tour topic is: UNIQUE FLORA
Self-explanatory. If you know of a plant that is either not on earth, or doesn’t act the same way in fantasyland as it does on earth, then you can consider it unique. Have fun.
Rhapsody, the first book of Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages series. There are five World Trees scattered throughout Haydon's world, with roots that connect to one another through the centre of the planet. Rhapsody, Achmed, and Grunthor must pass into the roots of the World Trees for a magical journey that not only takes them to the other side of the world, but which changes them in the process. It's a long journey too, as you might expect, comprising the first half of the novel, but utterly fascinating.
The Coldfire Trilogy from C.S. Friedman features trees that initially seem normal and innocuous. They don't walk or talk, they don't wave their limbs around, and they don't have massive gaping maws in their trunks. Instead, they give off a noxious chemical that drugs passing animals into paralysis, at which time the trees send out creeping tendrils to pierce the terrified beasts and basically suck them dry. Oh, and just because horror always tops horror, there's also the Forbidden Forest - "the Forest is alive, it tears them apart, it strews their blood upon the ground to nurture its foul growth."
The Illearth War, the second book of Stephen R. Donaldson's original Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. In it, Caerroil Wildwood is an immortal Forestal of Garroting Deep - a kind of male dryad - who is responsible for protecting the forests of the Land from Lord Foul's Ravers. During the climactic battle, he literally brings the forest to life, sending an unstoppable army against the forces of Lord Foul. Unfortunately, it's neither an easy victory nor a cheap one - there's a price of eternal servitude to be paid for the assistance of Garroting Deep (a forest of trees that, as you might guess, like to garrott their victims with their branches).
Stormbringer, the last of Michael Moorcock's original Elric Saga. Mordaga's castle, which lies upon the topmost crag of a tall and lonely mountain, is protected by 139 steps are 49 ancient Elder Trees. As Straasha explains to Elric, "Each elder contains the soul of one of Mordaga's followers who was punished thus. They are malevolent trees-ever ready to take the life of anyone that comes into their domain." Upon approach, each tree releases a shower of leaves that latch onto the flesh of those walking below and begin draining their blood, while sharp branches help keep the victims immobile for feeding.