The shambler tree is the answer to the question: can a tree walk? The answer is: yes it can, but only if it becomes an animal.
Sometimes, an organism will have both characteristics of a plant
(for example, ability to photosynthesize, has leaves, flowers and other plant parts) and characteristics of an animal (The ability to move around at will and it resembles a familiar creature). Scientists don't know how to classify it. We like to call it a Planimal. (Please note that mushrooms are fungi
, not plants - mushroom-animal hybrids don't belong here.)
See also Man-Eating Plant
for carnivorous plants that may or may not show animal traits and Plant Person
, Sister Trope
for sentient humanoid cases, and Plant Aliens
, the science fiction counterpart.
Anime & Manga
- The goldfish plants from Hoozuki no Reitetsu. Unlike most examples, they do not have the ability to propulse themselves. They are literally chubby goldfish wiggling around atop a thick, leafy stem. They can also grow up to three meters in height and are apparently edible.
- Greenpeace Crolis from Dominion Tank Police, a genetically engineered prototype for a new race of humanity meant to replace the current one, who can not only survive in the poisonous environment of near-future Earth but help cleanse it. Has green skin due to her cells being a combination of plant and animal in order to photosynthesize.
- Part IV of Jojos Bizarre Adventure has a cat whose Stand (a sort of psychic extension of the self) revived it as a plant, after its untimely death. The 'cat-plant' is a plant, no doubt about that, but it also has eyes and a mouth, and acts exactly like it used to in its former kitty-cat life. Of course, the best part is probably that it can use air, of all things, to potentially blow your freaking head off.
- The main character of Dogtato-kun is a dog-potato hybrid. There's also a hedgehog mixed with a sweet potato named "Hedgetato".
- Biollante from Godzilla vs. Biollante. Also part human ghost.
- Gremlins 2: The New Batch: After drinking a potion from the science lab, a Gremlin turns into a Gremlin/Vegetable hybrid.
- Troll 2, (which had nothing to do with the original Troll), features goblins (not Trolls) which turn people into edible plantmen because they are vegetarians.
- Apes and wolves made out of plants played an important role in Lady in the Water.
- In Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy tries to create creatures like this so plants can finally fight back against humans. She even shows a first example of her creations to Mr. Freeze.
- A major theme throughout Una Woodruff's Amarant: The Flora and Fauna of Atlantis; most of the "fauna" are actually motile seed- or pollen-carrying stages of plants.
- The Ents from the Lord of the Rings which are "Tree Shepherds": essentially trees that walk, talk, think and kill orcs.
- The vinhogs from Iron Council are giant swine with grapevines growing out of their backs. They're herded for wine.
- The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide reveals that the large-rooted mangrove-lookalike gnarltrees of Dagobah has a stage in its life-cycle in which the root part became the mobile, predatory knobby white spider, which is still a plant, not a spider (but is still knobby and white), but does vaguely resemble one (or at least, more than it resembles a tree)
- The "Groveback" creatures of Darwin IV, from Wayne Barlowe's Expedition (later made into Alien Planet).
- The titular triffids from Day Of The Triffids and carnivorous plants which are worryingly intelligent and move using their lower branches like crutches. They are implied to be the work of Soviet scientists in the Cold War
- As it turns out in Speaker for the Dead, every native animal on Lusitania is one of these, and they undergo metamorphosis, turning from plant to animal.
- In The Future Is Wild, 200 million years from now, garden worms store photosynthetic algae inside long fern-like appendages on their backs. They emerge from damp caverns to bask in sunlight, letting their algae generate sugars.
- In the Humanx Commonwealth Verse, furcots (from Midworld and Mid-Flinx) are huge, green, bear-like hexapods that live as Bond Creatures with humans. They emerge from seeds and gain nourishment by photosynthesis.
Mythology and Folklore
- Tremors the Series is the Trope Namer. The Planimal was a plant/root/thing, but also has a circulation system. It was a mixture of DNA from; the Pitcher Plant, Venus Fly Trap and some sort of lizard.
- A few pop up in Farscape. Zhaan is a Plant Person but has a lot of animal traits; one food her people cultivate is explicitly partly like a plant and animal.
- The "Dangerous Beauty" challenge on Face/Off required contestants to blend an exotic animal and plant of their choice.
- The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. It's actually just a cotton bush.
- In Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II is a plant, but has vocal chords and apparently, a full digestive system in its stalk. Kind of justified seeing as how it's from space.
- Super Mario Bros.: Piranha Plants, Dino Piranha, etc.
- Pikmin is full of these: Not just the Pikmin themselves, but things like the Creeping Chrysanthemum, the Candypop buds and even Pellet Posies have animal traits to them.
- Bulbasaur's family from Pokémon is both animal and plant simultaneously. As are a number of other Grass types that resemble animals such as the other Grass starters, Pansage, Leafeon, Deerling, Sawsbuck pictured above, and others.
- Spore allows you to make anything. Surely you can make a Planimal?
- The Japanese casual browser game Vegemon Farm has hundreds of Planimal type creatures.
- Sim Earth let you raise carnivorous plants to sentience and create a civilisation, even high-tech space-faring plant life.
- Super Scribblenauts allows you to add "wooden" to anything.
- Spore plants in Fallout, one of which became sentient.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Kikwis of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword look like a mix between a flowering plant, a beaver and a Kiwi.
- The Koroks from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker are vaguely person-shaped wooden figures with leaf masks. Apparently they used to be the much more human-like Kokiri from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
- The Deku Scrubs from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask are small wooden humanoid creatures that live just under the surface of the ground and will either sell you something or spit deku nuts at you.
- The Deku Baba which appears in the 3D games is a carnivorous plant similar to the Piranha Plant from the Mario series.
- Odin Sphere has Baromett plants, which grow sheep. Probably inspired by the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary mentioned under 'Mythology'.
- Most of the martian wildlife in the Ultima spinoff Martian Dreams are ambulatory, sapient plants, while the animal kingdom consist solely of subterranean worms. Even the civilised martians were some variation of gourd. Humorously, they refer to the visiting humans as "worms", not as an insult, simply because it's the closest thing they can recognise us as.
- Lashers from World of Warcraft are flowers that walk around on tentacle-like vines and whip enemies with a pair of thorny vines that serve as their "arms".
- Ochu and Malboro from Final Fantasy are mobile, toothy plants; the Malboro even breathes like an animal, by inhaling and exhaling through its mouth.
- Legend of Grimrock's Herders aren't technically planimals, since they're sentient (or at least aggressive and mobile) mushrooms, but it's close enough.
- The Mother series has a number of these.
- Mother has Woodahs and Big Woodahs (both being trees).
- EarthBound has two kinds of Mobile Sprouts, Demonic Petunias, and two kinds of Hostile Oak.
- Mother 3 has two kinds of Beanlings, Cactus Wolves, Yammonsters (regular, Baked and Grated), Pigtunias, Tiny Forests, two kinds of Trees, and Walking Bushies.
- The Falcon Elm from CreaVures, which is a giant bird rooted in the ground like a tree, with several bough-like wings.
- Guild Wars 2 gives us the fern hound a leafy dog that grow as companions to the silvari
- Creepers in Minecraft are actually some type of leafy plant monster. According to the creator of the game, they would feel 'crunchy, like dry leaves'.
- Mooshrooms are funganimals (half-cow, half-mushroom).
- Resident Evil 2 has the Ivy monsters, man-eating plants that have a vaguely humanoid shape. Supplementary material states that they are created by using the T-Virus to combine both plant and animal DNA.
- The development blog for The Floor is Jelly describes the catflower as an "unfortunate species" as it hates rain but yet needs to reside in a climate where it constantly rains to survive.
- In Kirby Triple Deluxe, there are a couple of plant-animal hybrid enemies. The insectoid Big Bad ultimately becomes one too, merging with the Dreamstalk to become a colossal wasp/flower hybrid. One of divine power that can entangle and drain the entire world of life.
- Shovel Knight features the Troupple King and his retinue of lesser Troupples - half trout and half apple.
- The Sega CD adventure game The Space Adventure has Parrot Grass. An alien spy disguises himself as Parrot Grass late in the game.
- Annyseed bumps into a rather assertive and agitated talking plant, whilst wandering through Hazels herb garden.
- The little pig inside of Zygaena from Tower of God has a flower that blooms on its back. It grows jewels.
- Spliced has the Swineapple; it's part pig, part pineapple.
- Darkwing Duck has Dr. Bushroot, who turned himself into a half-plant, half-duck in a failed experiment.
- One episode of Krypto the Superdog had Krypto and the Bathound facing off against a half-dog/half-plant villain named Dogwood who tried to bring the trees to life so they could rebel against humanity. Strangely it's not mentioned if he's associated with Poison Ivy, one of Batman's foes and a Plant Person.
- One episode of SWAT Kats, entitled "Destructive Nature", featured Dr. Viper creating a bunch of "Plantimals" to try and turn Megakat City into swampland.
- In the episode "Family Appreciation Day" of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, it's revealed that one of the inhabitants of the Everfree Forest are Timberwolves. Wolves made of actual timber.
- They return in "Spike At Your Service" and are part of the set up for the episode's conflict... as well as the resolution. They're also shown to be some sort of spirit, animating piles of scrap wood and fallen branches.
- In "Apple Family Reunion" there were literal fruit bats, herbivore bats that fly in a flock resembling a rainbow and inhabit fruit trees.
- Disney Junior's The Octonauts brings us "Vegimals," a group of semi-anthropomorphic vegetables, with a turnip called "Tunip" as their leader. They communicate using cheeping and trilling noises and can whip up a mean "fish biscuit" (not made of actual fish, but tastes fishy.)
- In Ewoks, the Raich from the episode named after it and the strangletorn plant from The Three Lessons appear to be planimals.
- Scientists have discovered a sea slug which eats certain algae and absorbs the chloroplasts, allowing it to perform photosynthesis.
- Several types of Cnidarians (jellyfish & corals) host symbiotic algae that provide them with sugar via photosynthesis in exchange for protection.
- Certain algae have been known to make their way into salamander eggs so they can feed on the embryo. Instead, the algae can become part of the salamander, giving the salamander algae in its DNA.
- While they are not true Planimals, a diverse number of animals use camouflage to resemble vegetation. Likewise, many plants, especially orchids, mimic animals, mostly their insect pollinators.
- Behold, Euglena. It's a single celled organism that photosynthesises like an alga, but swims around like a protozoan. Before the kingdom Protista was created and it was realised organisms could be something other than an animal or a plant, botanists and zoologists used to fight over this little thing to determine whose field of study it belongs to. Even now Euglena is usually found in the first chapters of both zoology and botany books.
- "Planimal" cells are a common way to teach basic cell biology to middle-school students, by including features (like cell walls and chloroplasts) exclusive to plants and other features (like lysosomes) exclusive to animals in the same illustration. It simplifies matters and provides a decent teaching tool.
- Sloths may also count, as they have a symbiotic relationship with moss, which grows in their fur. The moss gains mobility (albeit not that much), while its green color gives the host camouflage.