Flower from the Mountaintop
"There's a flower that only blooms on this mountain top. We're going to get it."A character must climb to the top of the mountain to obtain a rare flower. The reason behind this varies. It may be because the flower is an ingredient in the cure to a disease, to prove his love for someone, or even just to prove that he could climb to the top of Skullcrusher Mountain and come back alive. In a series set in a 'realistic' universe, the flower used is often edelweiss, which grows in the Alps. Unfortunately, many people in Real Life have fallen to their deaths trying to pick it, since it's rarer than The Theme Park Version of the Alps would have one believe, and often grows in inaccessible places. The flower does not need to be on a literal mountaintop to fit this trope: any place which is very dangerous or difficult to access will do.
—Fuse, SaGa Frontier
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Anime and Manga
- In The Twelve Kingdoms, a young girl is sent on such a mission by her cruel mistress.
- Used in Kimagure Orange Road, only that in this case, a young man has to go fetch some snow from the mountaintop as a test of character to see if he's worthy of marrying the girl he likes. She's the only daughter of a family with Psychic Powers and he's a just a normal human.... The girl likes the guy so much that she uses her powers to help him out, and the parents give them their blessing anyway. The young couple are Takeshi and Akemi, the parents of the male lead, Kyousuke Kasuga, and his sisters Kurumi and Manami.
- Subverted in the last Tenchi Muyo!! OAV. Tenchi's mother is injured climbing a mountain for a healing herb... which grows abundantly in the valley below.
- In Blood+, Saya wants a suitable present for her father on his birthday, and decides on a uniquely-colored flower which is hanging on the side of a cliff. Haji tells her it's too dangerous, but she's insistent on getting the flower, so Haji decides to retrieve it for her. Unfortunately, he slips, and is mortally wounded in the fall. In order to save his life, Saya feeds him some of her blood, turning him into a chiropteran chevalier in the process.
- Occurs in .hack//Sign. Tsukasa is entrusted with a grunty which gets sick. To cure it, he must collect a rare herb from a very high level dungeon, even though he is very low level. He is able to get it, but he doesn't return in time and the grunty dies anyway.
- Also occurs in .hack//Legend of the Twilight, where Tsukasa's (and Elk's) near-identical counterpart asks Sugo-in-Kite's-avatar to help her get a Pfenix Feather from a high-level Cerberus to save a sick baby grunty, even though they are both at very low levels. She goes with him, and they get the feather in time to heal it.
- One Piece: Chopper gets a rare medicinal herb to save the doctor who raised him. The plant? A toxic species of mushroom known as a Jolly Roger. The doctor knew it was poisonous from the beginning, but couldn't tell the poor kid that he risked his life for nothing.
- More than one of the Seven Colors Flower's sightseeings in Hana no Ko Lunlun happen in mountains. In one of these, Lunlun plummets to her death and has to be revived by the Flower Star Spirits.
- An episode of InuYasha followed Rin on a journey to retrieve a rare plant from a cliff to cure Jakken of poison.
- In the comic book Astérix in Switzerland, Asterix had to bring to the druid an edelweiss flower from the Alps.
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- Inverted in Batman Begins. Bruce is told to pick up a flower in a field, then has to climb the mountaintop to get to the monastery. The flower is also the source of a powerful hallucinogen that the film's version of Scarecrow weaponises into his signature fear gas.
- Ofelia of Pan's Labyrinth tells her mother and unborn brother a story about a rose on top of a terrible mountain. Whoever plucks the rose wins eternal life, but the thorns of the rose are full of deadly poison. People who mention it only talk about their fear of death and pain, so the rose sits on the mountain, wilting more each day because it can't give its gift away.
- Parodied in Fantozzi In Paradiso. Ms. Silvani convinces Ugo Fantozzi to pick up an edelweiss from a mountaintop, for her. He reaches the mountaintop and tries to pick up the flower, only to discover that it has an enormous root that was holding the whole mountain together. He rips off the root and creates a huge avalanche that buries Ms. Silvani under a meter of snow.
- The martial arts epic The Bride With White Hair has a Framing Device in which the main character's lover is waiting on a mountain in order to obtain a rare flower.
- In Feist's Riftwar saga, Prince Arutha has to go get the extremely rare Silverthorn flower from the top of a mountain of death infested by dark elves, as it's the only way to save his fiancée from a painful death by poison. Notable in that it's the same flower used to make the poison and the dark elves use it both because it's so deadly and so rare, meaning enemies will have a hard time getting a sample to make a cure.
- In The Magic of Oz, one of the Oz books, a character decides he's going to go get an incredibly rare flower as a gift for Princess Ozma, or something. It grows on an island in the middle of a river. Only it turns out that if you step on the island, your feet grow roots.
- In the Redwall book Salamandastron, a character sets out to pick the Flowers of Icetor from the northern mountains to cure a devastating plague at the Abbey.
- In Lloyd Alexander's Taran Wanderer, the fourth book (and unplanned one) of the Chronicles of Prydain, The Hecate Sisters send Taran off to find a mirror that, if he looks into it, will reveal who he really is (something that Taran, who has no idea who his family is, desperately wants to know). Subverted in that it turns out that the magic mirror is just a particularly pretty puddle. It was the trials of looking for it that gave Taran a sense of who he really was, not looking into some magic mirror.
- Used literally in William Shatner's Star Trek: Captain's Blood.
- Susan Cooper's fifth book in The Dark Is Rising series has the eponymous Silver On The Tree, a bloom that happens rarely. Of course, the battle is waged around the tree, because the other side understands the importance as well.
- The 'story arc' of the children's book The King of the Copper Mountains involves The Wonder Doctor journeying to a far away land to recover the Golden Speedwell, a magical plant that will rejuvenate the titular king.
- In "Ararat", the first The People story by Zenna Henderson, the colony welcomes yet another teacher from Outside. The kids are warned not to levitate or use any Psychic Powers around her, as this has driven several Outsiders insane. Valancy is young and beautiful but rather sad. Jemmy immediately falls in love with her. Marriage with an Outsider is unheard-of. On the first day of classes, he presents her with a bouquet of red autumn leaves. We're told these come only from trees that grow far up on the mountain, so he flew up there. But in the schoolroom, two identical bouquets are found in the inkwells of a double-seated desk to welcome twins starting the first grade. If Jemmy didn't put them there, who did?
- In Alan Garner's mystical novel The Moon of Gomrath, when Susan is reduced to a coma after the exorcism of a powerful Celtic spirit of evil, her brother Colin is sent on a moonlight quest into Faerie to find the one thing that will restore her sundered soul to her body. He passes from the surface-England into the superimposed England of Faerie and locates the magical plant that will restore her. To get this, he has to climb a steep forbidding cliff-face.
Live Action TV
- Band of Brothers has one of the officers pointing out that a dead German soldier has a sprig of edelweiss in his helmet band. It "only grows above the tree line", the implication being that he hiked up and got it sometime in the past.
- In the old Superman TV show, Superman was sent to get edelweiss for Lois Lane for her wedding (it was something a villain prompted her to request as the setup to some dastardly plot).
- In an episode of Dinosaurs, Charlene needed to get the (aptly named) MacGuffin lily in order to change her scent, which was supposed to attract her true love (hers was a big, oafish brute). She arrives to the mountain top only to find that the field had been cleared away to make room for a photo booth. When she returns, however, she finds that her scent had changed nonetheless, apparently triggered by her desire to improve herself and not settle.
- Babylon 5 references this trope briefly in the fifth season episode Learning Curve. Ranger Instructor Turval explains the importance of following orders to a headstrong pupil by asking if he would be willing to undertake a mission to climb to the top of a high mountain and retrieve a single flower from the summit, knowing that he would certainly die immediately afterwards. Of course not, the student replies, such a mission would be trivial. But what if, the instructor asks, the flower was a symbol, which would inspire a resistance movement that would free millions of people from oppression and slavery? The student grudgingly agrees that such a task would be worth dying for.
- Sexiest example of this trope: In the NBC series Crusoe, the title character must climb a mountain and then rappel down a forbidding cliff on his island in order to retrieve a rare plant that is needed to create a medicine to cure a delirous Friday. Not only that, but he has to cut his rope (the stump it was tied to above pulled out and fell down past him, threatening to yank him off the cliff face), forcing Olivia, the medically savvy temporary visitor to the island who was posing as a man and who was along on the climb helping him find the right plant, to save him. She does this by removing all her clothes and unwinding her bindings to fashion a make-shift rope and then, completely naked, proceeding to haul him back up to the top.
- Rammstein's Rosenrot details the story of a man who tries to climb a mountain to retrieve a rose for his lover, and consequently falls to his death.
- Rosenrot is based on a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe called "Heidenröslein" or "Heideröslein" ("Rose on the Heath" or "Little Rose of the Field"), which itself is based on a song from the 16th century. However, Goethe's version sounds more like rape than picking flowers.
Myth & Legend
- Older Than Dirt: The Epic of Gilgamesh has him searching for a magical flower; he finally does have it, then a snake eats it. Also an inversion: the flower was the Consolation Prize for not getting true immortality, as it just makes you younger so you can live a bit longer. It also leads to Lamarck Was Right since it explains why snakes shed their skin: they do it to renew their youth.
- In Slavic and Baltic folklore, the mythical "fern flower" blooms once a year on Midsummer's Eve. What it actually does depends on the culture.
- One fairy tale has a prince be fated to have attempts on his life made by a snake, an alligator, and a dog. His Genre Savvy wife saves him from all three. With the alligator, it tells him that unless he can fill a pit of sand with water and keep it filled, it will kill him. His wife recalls being told about a four-leaved flower on the top of a mountain in the middle of a desert which can do just that. She goes by herself and procures it for him.
- Korean Mythology features Seocheon Flower Field, a magical flower field located in the netherworld (or, in the border between this world and the other world). Going there can take years (unless you have some divine help), but it's all worth trying because there grow flowers that can raise the dead (other flowers include murder flower, a flower which makes the viewer die on the spot). Characters including Bari-degi and Hanllakgungi went to the field to revive their dead parents.
- Pretty much every MMORPG ever will have multiple quests of this type. Flowers (or sometimes "herbs") are pretty common targets, and they often are, indeed, found in close proximity to the top of a mountain. (Other popular locations are wild-animal-infested valleys and undead-infested graveyards.)
- The quest for the Shield Card in SaGa Frontier has you going to Mosperiburg for one of these. According to supplementary materials, it's because Fuse is in love with the receptionist at IRPO.
- Final Fantasy V does this twice. With the same species of creature, the same plant required to save its life, and the same girl willingly poisoning herself to save it. Then again, everyone likes Dragon Riders, right?
- Inversed in Final Fantasy IV, to cure Rosa's poison you need to descend into the lair of the antlion to get an Antlion Pearl.
- Star Ocean Till The End Of Time: Ameena, the Ill Girl you befriend, is making a wishing charm out of a rare flower, which grows only in the wildnernessy area around the town where you meet her. It doesn't appear to be anything more than an inconvenience for most people to find it, but she's in such poor health that it nearly kills her.
- Subverted humorously and combined with the Unexpected Gameplay Change in the original for the Super NES, where you, having been living on a normal fantasy world, have to obtain the flower to cure a plague which is turning people into stone/crystals; however, as soon as you get there, an exploration team from the starship above beams down, hears your story and takes you back to the ship to get a cure. It doesn't work, but this does eventually cause you to wind up saving everyone in the world, and the galaxy.
- This also happens in the second installment. There's a sick little girl whom you can get Private Actions with (along with another character— who it is depends on who you're playing as and who you have in your party), and in some of them you go on a journey to the Lassguss Mountains to get a plant to cure her. The Star Ocean series seems to like this trope...
- It happens again when Bowman makes you venture into the annoying Sanctuary of Linga to find a herb he has never seen before. There's no pressing reason for this, he just wants to see if your braggadocio is legit.
- Kingdom of Loathing had a limited time event where you could catch a plague. One of the ingredients for a temporary cure was a "Blood Flower" that grew at the peak of Mount McLarge Huge, at the site of a battle where Yeti and Mafia Penguins killed each other. You consider "leaving it there, as a touching testament to the futility of war, but then your avarice kicks in and you pick it."
- In the opening for Monster Rancher 4, the hero and his monster buddies go on a quest for one of these for Rio.
- In Exile III / Avernum III, you have to fetch the most beautiful flower in the world for a faerie. It's deep in a mountain valley full of increasingly pretty meadows of flowers, each guarded by even huger hoards of gremlins that use the "Charm Person" spell.
- In Seiken Densetsu 3, you go get flowers from a mountaintop... but when you arrive you make it so your wind spirit blows them toward a castle you are about to invade. Said flowers act like a sleeping gas.
- In Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, one minor quest has Delsus' grandmother tell you she wants a white flower, which you will, of course, discover can be found on top of a mountain (in highlands on top, actually, not on a peak). It's played fairly straight.
- This happens in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals as part of a Continuity Nod towards the first game, concerning the origin of the flower called Priphea.
- Potentially happens twice in Tales of Symphonia: The Elven Storyteller requires you to get the Mana Leaf Herb from "a difficult place" in order to cure Colette's illness, and there's also a Sidequest in which Raine falls ill, and everyone splits up to find a way to cure her. Her brother Genis and his friend Mithos find the required flower at the top of the Fooji Mountains.
- Obtaining a flower was one of the missions in the first Tenchu game.
- The only wolfsbane flower in the Morrowind expansion Bloodmoon is located on top of a large mountain in Solstheim.
- The original Morrowind has a more downplayed version — one sidequest asks you to find five (extremely rare) Roland's Tear flowers, and the quest-giver knows of one place where they grow. The good news is, it's not exactly inaccessible — it's actually fairly close. The bad news is that it is a Daedric ruin, and Daedric ruins have a reputation as some of the most dangerous places in all Morrowind.
- Little Big Adventure 2 has Twinsen needing to find a Balsam flower in order to pass his wizard exam.
- Done in Dragon Quest Monsters 2 in order to awaken a queen from an endless nightmare.
- One mission in Tomba! requires the eponymous hero to go get healing herbs from a very windy mountain in order to save injured puppy Baron.
- The quest Troll Romance in RuneScape requires you to get an extremely rare flower called Trollweiss from the top of a mountain, so that a troll can give it to a female troll... as a snack.
- One of the side quests in Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town involves getting Ellen a rare flower that only blooms on the top of Mt. Moon at midnight.
- A similar premise is used in Magical Melody, in which the town's traditional means of proposing involves a person climbing a mountain and finding a blue feather that is dropped by a bird that flies over there. Your character must do this in order to marry anyone with the required number of hearts.
- In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman convinces Poison Ivy to tell him where to find a plant capable of counteracting the Titan formula claiming that all plants on the island will be destroyed if she doesn't help him. Ivy agrees and informs Batman that the plant he seeks...is in Killer Croc's lair.
Poison Ivy: You didn't think it would be easy, did you?
- In Fire Emblem Elibe, Marcus tells Lilina in their supports that Roy's dad Eliwood did this when he was young, to please his now-deceased wife aka Roy's Missing Mom who can be either Lyndis, Ninian or Fiora. (Though the talk implies said mom isn't Lyndis, as outta the three ladies she's the only one who is NOT from the zone the flower grows in.
Marcus: Lord Eliwood loved his wife deeply. And one night...before the two became engaged, Lord Eliwood suddenly disappeared from the castle. When he returned to his love three days later, he presented her with a beautiful white flower which only grows in the snowy highlands. It was the flower which she loved the most.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening a Male Morgan can do this for Nah in their supports, as the dragon goddess Naga requires it for a ritual that she asks the half-Dragon Nah for. If they reach S support, it turns out it was a plot by Naga to prove to Nah that her prayers for Morgan to love her wasn't necessary, because he already loved her.
- One side quest in Wizardry VII involves collecting five flowers like this.
- Brave Soul: The main character undertakes the quest to acquire a special herb for the local hospital as part of his guild's charity program, so he doesn't have to wash laundry instead.
- Coach Z suggests this trope to Homestar in the Homestar Runner movie "In Search of the Yello Dello".
- In an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender as a romantic gesture, Aang goes to get one that only grow on the volcano rim.
- The Smurfs:
- This was the plot of a Smurfs short; subverted at the end when we find out that there are actually hundreds of the flowers growing up there.
- In Astro Smurf, Papa and the others stage an elaborate act for him, letting him believe he's made it to another planet with red-skinned smurf-like natives. When he wants to go native, they frantically brainstorm various Initation Ceremonies he has to test, including retrieving one of these.
- In the "Game of Peril" episode of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Penelope's scavenger hunt list includes a rare flower called the "Crimson Avuncular", which grows only on Mount Mishmash.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars has this, though it's not so much as "flower from the mountaintop" as it is "root from the canyon on another planet".
- In The Land Before Time IV, Littlefoot has to go to the dangerous "Land of the Mists" to retrieve the nightflower to heal his sick grandfather.
- An episode of Kim Possible had sidekick Ron Stoppable trekking into an Amazon valley to find an orchid that could cure Kim of a poison that made her disappear when she got embarrassed.
- In one episode of Maryoku Yummy, Maryoku tells the wishes a story about The Golden Flower of Fun, that supposedly grows in a cave and brings happiness to whoever finds it. Fudan decides to go find it, so to dissuade him from making the long journey (and after a confusing conversation with Tapo Tapo), Maryoku goes off to find it herself. She eventually stumbles upon it, but leaves it where it is when she sees a record of the Yummies who had been there before.
- Po and Monkey in Kung Fu Panda scale a mountain to obtain an orchid for Tigress.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In "The Bitter Rose", Orko does this to prove his love for Dree'Elle. Initially it causes problems for everyone until it's revealed he did something unexpectedly beneficial, after all.
- In The Pirates of Dark Water, one of the Thirteen Treasures of Rule is guarded by a giant worm. A nearby alchemist tells Ren that a certain magical flower with healing powers that grows deep in a dangerous marsh is poisonous to the worm. In the end, Ren uses the flower to save the life of someone he befriended in that episode. Said friend repays the favor by distracting the worm while Ren claims the Treasure.