"An intellectual carrot... the mind boggles."
Aliens aren't just made of meat. Whether dumb, talkative or even singing, plant-based aliens have been a staple of movies, films and TV for decades. There are even a few based on fungi, which are just as sessile
, despite being very different from plants. They're actually much more closely related to animals, but if you've got walking talking mushrooms, why worry about a little thing like that?
On a side note, plant aliens are nearly always mobile and/or sentient, traits that pretty much defeat the point of belonging to a species whose feeding methods does not rely on looking for other species that it can feed on (and raises the question where they get all the extra energy from). Then again, what can you expect from Fantastic Flora
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Anime and Manga
- Galaxy Angel has used a few strange alien plants; the usually serious games and manga are also not immune to the occasional sentient plant biting Mint's ears. They usually, however, Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" and end up with regular "space roses" and the like.
- The alien Tart's power in Tokyo Mew Mew is creating mutated vines; in the anime, this was altered to changing Earth plants.
- In Outlaw Star there is a sentient cactus that can control people's actions by vibrating its quills. A nod to "Meglos", the Doctor Who episode mentioned below, maybe?
- Plant-based Digimon tend to be female. No explanation why is given, though- probably either some "mother nature" thing, or related to the fact that most plant digimon have a flower motif at some point. Grass-type Pokémon, however, are gender dimorphic.
- In an episode of Transformers Headmasters, Scorponok used Daniel to sneak seeds of giant man eating plants to San Francisco and the Autobots' Athenia base. Said plants later uprooted themselves and walked around, making them true plant aliens.
- To Love-Ru has Celine, a giant sentient friendly Man-Eating Plant that lives in Rito's back yard. After she (apparently) becomes ill, Rito and company travel to an entire planet of hostile Plant Aliens in search of a cure. Turns out Celine was just entering her next biological stage: a little girl with a flower growing out of her head.
- Momo has an entire collection of these she can summon through her phone at anytime.
- Cosmo from Sonic X and by extension her species including the Metarex
- The Mazone of Captain Harlock are plant-based alien women, blue like Zhaan from Farscape, though they share the Rapunzel Hair of most female Leiji Matsumoto characters.
- They're never directly identified as plants, but the green-skinned Namekians of Dragon Ball Z don't eat any kind of food and drink only water, because they get everything else they need for nourishment from photosynthesis.
- The most powerful, terrifying alien in the galaxy of Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire (so much so that he has a private teleportation system for getting around and a pocket-sized black hole trash can) is Lord Thezmothete. Thezmothete's right-hand-entity is He-Who-Must-Be-Watered, who looks like a large arrangement of exotic flowers in a hovering bowl.
- The Cotati are intelligent, telepathic alien trees in Marvel Comics.
- Groot, with a healthy serving of When Trees Attack mixed in.
- A particularly creepy Swamp Thing example. The title character is a disembodied consciousness, who forms his body from the plantlife surrounding him. This works well on Earth, where the flora is just flora, and can be twisted and reshaped with impunity. When he lands on an alien planet and is surrounded by sentient plants, it's outright Body Horror the way they're twisted and crammed together to form the body of a giant space alien. (For reference, imagine human beings being used for the same purpose...)
- For the record, said planet was the homeworld of the plantlike Silver Age Green Lantern named Medphyll (who arrives to reason with Swampy).
Films — Live-Action
- Little Shop of Horrors, both the film and spin-off cartoon, featured a talking, man-eating, mean green mother from outer space called Audrey II.
- The title creature from the 1951 film The Thing from Another World is a plant-like humanoid lifeform.
- The Doctor Who episode mentioned below, "The Seeds of Doom", was heavily inspired by this film.
- Lest we forget, the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! films and cartoon series.
- The enormous, demonic-faced marrow-on-wheels from It Conquered the World.
- Matango, a Japanese horror film, features fungi that take over human bodies. In the U.S., it had the more "colorful" title Attack of the Mushroom People.
- Note that these aren't technically aliens (that we know of), just an isolated parasitic species on a uncharted pacific island.
- The truly terrible scifi/comedy Invasion of the Star Creatures had a couple of carrot monsters under the control of the eponymous star creatures.
- Non-sentient example: the fast-spreading plant organisms from Creepshow.
- Word of God states that E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial's species is plantlike in their anatomy and are asexual.
- The one about the mushroom that walked into a bar, was refused service, and pointed out he was a really fun-guy.
- Old-school science fiction fans will remember the red alien weed laid down by the Martians in H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. This may be the origin of the trope. Although the red weed didn't move around or think, so far as we know. It was probably just the Martian equivalent of grass or something.
- Alien plants also featured in the 1950s novel The Day of the Triffids and its subsequent TV and movie adaptations. However, these aliens were in the habit of walking around and killing people with their deadly stingers. Ordinarily a rake and a good dose of weed killer would be enough to dispatch them, but mankind had been blinded by a meteor shower... Strictly the triffids are not aliens in the original novel, they were the product of Soviet plant breeding experiments. The 'Meteor Shower' may or may not have been a man-made weapon. However, in the best-known movie adaptation, they were changed to aliens.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
- Speaker for the Dead, and the other related sequels to Ender’s Game, have the pequeninos, which after dying become sentient trees.
- In fact, every native species (only a few dozen species exist) on that planet had an animal/plant duality to its life cycle. It's an important plot point when the humans figure out WHY and actually explains the single-biome nature of the planet (it's all just fields and forests).
- The cause of all this is the Descolada, a highly-adaptable virus capable of infecting any living thing. It unravels any DNA strand it comes into contact with, causing the death of any organism that has not adapted to it. Humans can only survive it by ingesting genetically-engineered food supplements daily, and all who contract it are carriers. When the Descolada first appeared on Lusitania, it wiped out the vast majority of plant and animal species, leaving behind those that managed to adapt and use the Descolada as part of their lifecycle. Essentially, this means that various animals are, at different stages in their lives, plants and vice versa. The "piggies", local primitive sentients, turn into trees when properly killed (it's a great honor) and retain some of their consciousness as plants, whose sap is used to fertilize female "piggies" (which look like tiny snakes). When the Starways Congress finds out about the Descolada, they send a fleet to destroy Lusitania. Luckily, thanks to the lack of FTL travel, the fleet won't arrive for decades.
- H.P. Lovecraft's The Whisperer in Darkness features an alien race called the Mi-go, sometimes called the "fungi from Yuggoth". They are not true fungi, though. In appearance they are somewhat crustacean with membranous wings.
- Another Lovecraft example is the Elder Things in At The Mountains of Madness which are the original Starfish Aliens and have tissues more like plants than animals.
- Even Star Wars has this in the short story "Day of the Sepulchral Night". Sentient, humanoid, plant species called Zelosians.
- Zelosians are basically Ridiculously Human Plant Aliens. They bleed green, have very vivid green eyes, and can live for a month on water and sunlight, but otherwise are basically human, down to digestive tracts and reproduction. They're even classified as "Near-Human", implying that they're capable of interbreeding with humans. Somehow. Lampshaded by one of them in Death Star, when he wonders if any geneticists have been able to make sense of his kind.
- There are several others, among whom the Neti (Force-sensitive sentient shapeshifting trees, alternating between a sapling stage, fully mobile periods of a few centuries (in which the females have breasts for some reason), and a up to millennium of hibernation in the form a big, rooted tree, which can extend to indefinite given the right conditions) and the Baffor Trees (regular, non-sentient trees on their own, but able to link their roots together to create a collective consciousness)
- A one-off joke in Darksaber mentions a carnivorous alien vending a vegetable stand next to a plant-like alien selling hunks of meat.
- The Demisiv in Young Wizards look like walking Christmas trees with berry-like eyes.
- Bruce Coville's Alien Adventures includes among a sentient plant named Phil among its crew. He looks just like a giant flower in a floating pot and speaks by 'burping' air through his pods.
- His last name is O'Dendron. When the main character expresses astonishment that a plant could talk, he responds, "You're made of meat. It's a wonder you can think at all." Which is also a Shout-Out to this story.
- For the record, his full name is actually Phillogenous esk Piemondum in the original editions of the books. (And most likely in the reprints as well.)
- The Venom of Argus by Edmund Cooper (writing as Richard Avery). An alien tree similar to the tangle tree in the Xanth novels by Piers Anthony: long tentacles that grab victims and take them to its mouth to be dissolved.
- The AACP of Sector General. It is even mentioned that the creator of the classification scheme failed to take the possibility of intelligent plants, and is in fact used in every book as the prime example of how the system is imperfect.
- The Kanten in David Brin's Uplift series. They were genetically engineered to be sentient over a period of roughly a hundred thousand years, so it may be justifiable. They are small trees but can walk and talk, and are no "closer to nature" than animal-like aliens. They are one of the few species allied to Earthclan. Mulc-"spiders" are a species of sapient, but sessile, plant-like things quite unlike any life on Earth, which exist to dissolve cities after planets are declared fallow and evacuated.
- In Animorphs, broccoli is alien as well, as revealed in Megamorphs #2. There's nothing remarkable about it (it is broccoli after all, it was just brought by alien immigrants millions of years ago) but as Marco jokes, it explains so much about the weird taste.
- Perdido Street Station and its sequels have humanoid cacti, the Cactacae, many of whom live in a huge greenhouse. Their thick cell walls render them immune to most weapons.
- There is a Tear Jerker story by Edmond Hamilton about a man who has seeds from another planet land in his backyard and grow into a green humanoid couple. The problem is, the human and the girl fall in love with each other, and the alien guy kills the girl the moment he can actually move towards her (they initially have roots). The human goes to live in a desert - can't stand green anymore.
- In Alan Dean Foster's Cat-A-Lyst, the protagonists meet up with a starfaring band of treelike aliens who possess genius-level intelligence but are somewhat lacking in the common-sense department.
- The Czillians from Jack Chalker's Well World series are bipedal sentient plants. They are a lot more plant-like and a lot less humanoid then many of the other examples.
- Lukan War (1969) had plant aliens from another galaxy come into conflict with the united Milky Way. They were also, for some Handwave reason, invisible — and we were likewise invisible to them (both sides could see the others' ships, though). The various species of our galaxy were aghast at the "unnaturalness" of intelligent plant life, and began calling for a genocidal crusade, at which point the narrator, who'd earlier been scorned as overly militaristic, wound up being the most nearly pacifist person in the discussion.
- The Citoac in the Star Trek Novel Verse (see Starfleet Corps of Engineers). The Mabrae, another Star Trek Novel Verse culture (appearing in Star Trek: The Lost Era and Star Trek: The Next Generation Relaunch), are animals but live symbiotically with plants that grow on their bodies, and are tailored to each individual. Security guards have tough bark as natural body armour, diplomats and politicians grow exotic colourful flowers. These plants are essentially the Mabrae's clothes. They consider segregation between leaf and flesh barbaric.
- Piers Anthony's Omnivore is set on a world where fungal life forms take the place of animal life. One species of mobile fungus, nicknamed "mantas" for their shape, combines this trope with Starfish Alien.
- The skrode-riders in Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep are part-plant AIs that live just about everywhere in the inhabited galaxy, and turn out to be quite important to the plot.
- The stingbulbs from the Fablehaven series start out as little fruits, but if you prick your finger on one, it turns into an exact replica of you. It's not a perfect copy, though—a few memories are missing, it doesn't necessarily think and act like you (it obeys the orders it receives after transformation), and it only lives for a few days.
- A rare sessile example would be the titular aliens from the classic short story "The Lotos Eaters" by Stanley Weinbaum. In fact, their immobility is kind of the point. They're a race who wholeheartedly disbelieve in free will or life having any meaning — and if you hang around them long enough, they'll telepathically convince you of it, too, pulling you over a Despair Event Horizon so that you no longer think it's worth the bother to get up and leave their territory. When one explorer starts succumbing to this effect faster than the other, the first has to practically drag the second out of range of the creatures' telepathic influence.
- The classic Doctor Who story "The Seeds of Doom" had an alien plant that also transformed people into plants - shades of Body Horror there. A new series episode, "The End of the World" also featured bipedal, talking plants that had evolved from trees in the Brazilian rainforest. However, in appearance they were more like Rubber-Forehead Aliens - or, in Jabe's case, Green-Skinned Space Babe. They have concealed tentacles ("I'm not supposed to show them in public"), and consider being breathed on a rather "intimate" gift. "There's more where that came from."
- The Avengers episode "The Man-Eater of Surrey Green" featured a giant plant that was using psychic powers to control a team of scientists to help it spread its seeds across the world. It then ate them all, as was its wont. The episode also featured a baffling off-hand reference to forests on the moon!
- Zhaan from Farscape is a Human Alien plant. It is for the most part treated as no different from the various other biological quirks of the aliens in the series (we aren't even told until late in the first season).
- Becomes a plot point in one episode when she starts "budding" and growing more aggressive because her body needs to feed on some animal protein once in a while.
- Those "photogasms" from intense multi-source sunlight look FUN.
- On Lexx, Lykka is a carnivorous plant which takes her form from the thoughts of those nearby, which she sprouts as a form of camouflage.
- In Quark, Ficus is a Human Alien in appearance, but because he is actually a Plant Alien, his psychology is that of an emotionless Spock, only more so. His Mirror Universe double is exactly like him because "There are no good or bad plants, only plants."
- Lost in Space featured a somewhat-infamous episode entitled "The Great Vegetable Rebellion" with an alien carrot as a villain; some of the cast couldn't stop laughing on-camera at how ridiculous it was.
- Garth Marenghis Darkplace parodied this beautifully when we find out that broccoli is alien. This is the reason why people in that episode were suddenly turning into broccoli. But the space broccoli was a metaphor for AIDS!
- The title character in episode 2 of Ultra Seven, "The Green Terror", is this.
- A number of monsters from Power Rangers are humanoid plants, such as the Bloom of Doom from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
- The Outer Limits episode "Moonstone" features the Grippians, an alien race who are basically sentient anenomes.
- The Orks of Warhammer 40,000 are half Plant Aliens. They're a symbiotic relationship between a mammal-like creature and a fungus, meaning they have green skin but red blood. They reproduce asexually, giving off spores all the time which grow new Orks in underground wombs, and as a result are basically impossible to completely wipe out. Later versions Retcon them as fungus/algae/vertebrate hybrids when somebody pointed out the difference between plants and fungi.
- There are also a few more conventional examples, such as the Brainleaf and Spiker, both of which reproduce by converting anything that crosses their path into another of their kind.
- The Migo (actually named Migou here, but so what) appear in all their Lovecraftian glory as one of the two main antagonists of Cthulhu Tech, and they brought Humongous Mecha with them.
- The thallids from Magic: The Gathering are fungus-creatures that come in a staggering variety of shapes and sizes.
- In Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, a race of sentient plant people are going to be introduced in the Heroes of Feywild called "Hamadryad". They can alter their bodies during sleep to gain different abilities and the appearance of their foliage changes as they age from spring to summer to autumn to winter.
- The "Hamadryad" existed in the 3rd edition where they were called "Killoren" and were explicitly a plant-based member of The Fair Folk.
- Gamma World has the Plant character origin, as well as a number of plant-based monsters.
- One NPC is Columbia, a sentient vine forest occupying the entire Columbia Building.
- Traveller 2300 adventure Energy Curve. The Klaxun are mobile plants with human level intelligence.
- SPI's Universe science fiction RPG. In the list of encounters in the adventure guide, alien #28 is a balloon-like Living Gasbag with 6 two-foot long tentacles hanging from it. It maintains buoyancy by producing lighter-than-air gasses inside its body out of air and sunlight, and propels itself by squirting gasses out its underside.
- Technically not an alien, as it was created by a Mad Scientist like everything else, but the Morbuzahk, a sentient, Eldritch Abomination-style plant that tries to take over Metru Nui in BIONICLE, probably qualifies.
- There's also its prototype the Kharzhani (not to be confused with the ancient Evil Overlord it was named after).
- The Elowan from the Starflight games.
- The Supox in Star Control II. When the protagonist protests that human scientists (and science-fiction authors) have proven that intelligent plant life is a scientific impossibility, the Supox spokesman replies, "Yes. This has been confirmed by our people as well. Strange, is it not? Many of our people regard this inconsistency as proof of our divine origin." Luckily, they aren't jerks about it.
- From the same game come the Mycon, a race of fungoid aliens created by the Precursors as biological terraforming devices. However, over the millennia they have gone rogue, developed a religion centered around the worship of "Juffo-Wup" and basically do the opposite of their original mission (they transform verdant worlds into ones they have been adapted to live in, i.e. barren hellscapes).
- Note: this info isn't explicitly stated within SC2, but has been stated by the original creators, Fred and Paul, in an IRC chat.
- Not actually an alien, (well, usually,)but in the Sims 2 expansion pack Seasons, your sims can be turned into "PlantSims" by using too much insecticide.
- The Pikmin: Part Plant Aliens, part social insects, all cute. Not quite "alien" though: The setting of the game is heavily implied to be Earth After the End. There's also the walking, delicious fungus Puffstool with mutagenic spores.
- The Eaggra from the 1996 RTS War Wind are a numerous plant species that was used for slave labour by the reptilian Tha Roon before the inevitable uprising.
- The Thorian from Mass Effect is one huge plant-like... thing that can control sapient creatures through spores.
- The Xenofungus from Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is the base for the Planet-wide Hive Mind.
- Master of Orion 3 had the Audrieh and Phaigour as minor non-playable races. Their exact natures were never really clarified beyond being categorized as "Plant" and "Fungal" respectively.
- Two of the many diverse aliens found in Meteos can be classified here: the sentient clairvoyant flowers of the planet Florias and the symbiotic living trees of Wuud/Arborea.
- The Martians from UFO: Afterlight are actually plant-like humanoid aliens. You kill them with Chainsaw Launchers and Katanas.
- Since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the series has included Deku Babas in all of its 3D games. They resemble enormous venus flytraps, and the way to kill them is to sever the stalk. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker introduced a distant relative called Boku Babas, and one boss that was a 50-foot Boko Baba. Later, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess gave us a 50-foot two-headed Actually three headed Deku Baba.
- Deku Scrubs. They have a society (and king) in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and are sometimes shown to be good businessshrubs.
- There's also the Koroks in The Wind Waker, which are apparently another form of the Kokiri from Ocarina of Time, meaning the Kokiri must be plants too, even though they look exactly like Hylian children. It would explain where they come from if they can't grow up anyway.
- The wildlife on Mars in Worlds of Ultima 2: Martian Dreams is often moving plants (die, roaming cacti, die!). This includes the sentient inhabitants.
- In Video Game/Waking Mars, the Zoa, while not technically plants, are fairly similar to plants, considering they are stationary.
- Mobile plant- and fungus-based creatures exist in the Warcraft universe. Notable ones are bogbeasts (shambling swamp thing-type creatures), lashers (flower-like plants with small roots for lef and tentacle-like vines) and fungal giants (giant creatures made ouf of fungi). Spore bats may be fungus-based, too, but it's not really clear.
- Also the Sporelings, a group of fungus-based humanoids in World of Warcraft that are friendly to players and sell some unique items and recipes (including a pet sporebat) for those who build reputation with them.
- Five different species of aggressive lunar plants pose obstacles to your explorations in Voyage: Inspired By Jules Verne. Their fruit is crucial to completion of the game.
- Spore has several plant parts that can be used for creating creatures.
- The second area of Sanitarium ("The innocent abandoned") in under control of Mother, a massive plant-being and a Well-Intentioned Extremist who is disgusted by the idea of meat beings, but consider the children to be precious innocents and want to save them... by turning them into plants and integrating them in herself. She's also an allegory for the disease.
- The antagonists of Science Girls, complete with "They're not plants, that's not how plants work!" lecture from Biology Girl.
- Super Mario Bros. has a lot of plant creatures (too many to list). Arguably the most prominent ones would be the Piranha Plants.
- Several fungus-based creatures appear too, most famously the Toads and Goombas.
- The Whittles from Super Mario Galaxy 2.
- The peaceful merchants called Muscipulans from Otherspace are man-sized Venus fly traps with dozens of wriggling tentacles for locomotion.
- In Aleste and Aleste 2, heroine Ellinor is battling a horde of super-intelligent plants trying to take over the world.
- Starbound has this both as a playable race, the Florans, and an NPC race, the Agarians. The Florans subvert the nature-loving plant people stereotype by being violent, bloodthirsty, caveman-like carnivores and are thought little of by the other, fleshy races. The Agarians are mushroom people who speak a language that is unaffected by the player's Translation Convention, making their origins and motives very mysterious. Occasionally, you'll find a settlement of them having Florans imprisoned in underground dungeons, hinting at some sort of relationship between them.
- In Starcraft, it's been mentioned that the Protoss photosynthesize.
- Albion brings us Argim. Technically he was an iskai (standard alien species in the game), untill one of his experiments with immortality caused the psychic organ connected to his brain to somehow fuse with the plants that make up his home, effectively turning him into a living dungeon.
- The Space Bar gives us the Vedj, mobile plants with normal human-level intelligence. This gets creepy when as a puzzle solution you have to eat the fruits of one of the aliens as an antidote. As in, her children. Squick.
- The Flowers that lead the Protectors of the Plot Continuum are this, with the twist that they were originally plants from Earth that ended up on another planet due to a literal Plot Hole.
- The speculative biology project Snaiad has animal and plant like alien lifeforms. Thing is, unlike in our world the distinction between "plants" and "animals" isn't as clear because some "plant" and "animal" groups (most notably the vertebrate analogues) evolved from things with animal and plant characteristics. Word of God states that the "vertebrates" still have a lethal relic of this: vegetative cancer
- Orion's Arm has several examples of "provolved" plants.
- As the What If? entry "Green Cows" demonstrates, there wouldn't be much point to engineering a photosynthetic cow: it'd still need to consume almost as much food as regular cows.
- Wildvine from Ben 10. Cleverly, his species is called "Florauna" (Flora/Fauna).
- Botanica from Beast Machines is a robot plant alien —who took her form from an entire planet of plant aliens— and the style of the series plus her personal philosophy makes it hard to keep track of which mode is which.
- Count Duckula once travels to a strange future where Earth is populated by intelligent, human-sized vegetables. Problem: He's a vegetarian vampire. (OTOH, humans have no problem with eating meat while consisting of meat, but that point wasn't made in the episode.)
- Star Trek: The Animated Series featured the plant-like Phylosians.
- An episode of the Powerpuff Girls featured an invasion by broccoli-shaped aliens. With their parents captured, the children of Townsville resorted to eating the intruders, at the PPGs behest. (Obviously, the Aesop to be learned here was to eat your vegetables... but hypnosis by eating vegetables was what brought up this situation in the first place.)
- Relish Rampage, a tie-in game, had them defeating alien pickles.
- The villains of the Darkwing Duck episode "Twin Beaks": they grow as plants, but their eventual form is a copy of someone in duck society. Their infiltration is halted partly through the aid of other aliens, talking cows.
- Also, though not technically an alien, but changed anyways, is Reginald Bushroot, a scientist who got turned into a walking, talking, mad plant.
- The Monster Minds in Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, using giant vines to travel between worlds. Unique in the listed examples as being plant-cyborgs.
- For some reason, Courage the Cowardly Dog seems to run into a lot of hostile, talking fruits and vegetables. Not all of them are space aliens, but some are.
- While not "aliens" per se, the Wuts from The Dreamstone are increasingly revealed to be plantlike in more than just their green and vaguely leafy-looking appearance. In one episode, we see a yellowish and aged-looking Wut step into a pool of water...and in the time it takes to pan to the water and back to his face, he becomes recognizable again as one of the main characters.
- Sushi Pack, "From the Planet Citrus" sees the pack getting jailed for trying to offer flowers, chocolate (made from cocoa seeds), and a painting of applesauce to some orange (shape, not just color) aliens from the planet Citrus. Moral of the day: Always do your research!
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the "timber wolves" from "Family Appreciation Day" and "Spike At Your Service", wolf-like plant creatures that dwell in the Everfree Forest.