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Glowing Flora

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Flowers and plants are already beautiful by themselves in Real Life, but some creators don't think this is quite enough. And what better way to make them even more alluring that making them glow?

These luminous plants can appear for several reasons. They can bring a distinct alien and strange feeling to the scenery, being a shorthand visual clue that the location displayed is definitely at the very least unusual. Gleaming plants can also be featured in dark areas as Fantastic Light Sources, allowing both the characters and the public to see, even if they don't carry any light source by themselves. And finally, glowing flowers can be used solely for Scenery Porn purposes, since shimmering flora glimmering in the darkest nights can make some definitely gorgeous backgrounds.

Contrary to animals, for which bioluminescence is Truth in Television for some species, plants almost never display such feature in Real Life — plants gain all of their energy by absorbing light, so sending that light right back out would achieve nothing beyond wasting it. They don't need to glow to attract prey or to see in the dark, so it would be pointless to use energy on bioluminescence.


Glowing fungi also count as this trope, since fiction almost constantly puts the plants and the fungi in the same basket despite them being completely unrelated. Unlike plants, however, there actually are glowing fungi, although most of them aren't as spectacular as the fictional ones.

A Sub-Trope to Bioluminescence Is Cool. Sister Trope to Lighting Bug, where fauna glows instead of flora.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Knights on Dinosaurs have the gang visiting the underground Lizard Folk kingdom of Enriru, whose light source comes from glowing fungus from the cavern roofs. Nobita finds out when he flies too high with the Takecopter, bumps his head on the ceiling, and the gang realize his hair is glowing partially.
  • Snow White with the Red Hair: The Olin Maris is a rare vine with glowing flowers that poisons nearby water. Shirayuki and a group of other researchers spend some time experimenting to find a way to get it to bloom and glow without becoming poisonous.

    Asian Animation 
  • Season 8 episode 35 of Happy Heroes is about Sweet S. feeding Big M. some glowing mushrooms she found, causing the latter's tummy to start glowing. They were actually normal mushrooms until Huo Haha accidentally spilled one of his magic powders on them, giving them their luminescence.

    Fan Works 
  • Antipodes: In the depths of the forest of zap apple trees, the canopy blocks out most of the light and illumination is mostly from a thin layer of blue-green, luminescent moss.

    Film — Animated 
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Beast's rose emits a powerful rose glow. Justified, as it's a magical rose, and its glowing shows the power and importance of the flower.
  • A Bug's Life: The ants use glowing mushrooms as lighting inside the anthill.
  • In FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Zach and Krysta hop on some luminescent shelf fungi.
  • The Secret of NIMH: Mrs. Brisby manages to find a gorgeous inner sanctum inside the rosebush. The approach way is lit by the blooms of flowers bedded alongside the path. These blooms go dim and close tightly as Brisby comes near, darkening the area ominously.
  • Tangled: The magical golden flower is a magical lily that can heal every injury. Its status is highlighted by the strong yellow glow it emits.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Avatar, the alien jungles of Pandora contain an enormous variety of bioluminescent plants, with almost every form of plant life giving off some blue or purple glow. This results in some very surreal forests, and the nighttime experience is as such rather different from nights on Earth — it's a whole lot less dark, to begin with.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, when the team explores a dark chamber to retrieve the Orb from Ronan, the tree alien Groot expels a cloud of bioluminescent seeds to light the darkness.

  • In Junction Point, when Liu enters the habitat dome of the alien Rudak, every surface is covered in plant-like life that glows in greens and blues.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, the flowers in Morgul Vale are luminescent, though the effect is more Scenery Gorn than Scenery Porn.
  • In Men at Arms, the narrator at one point explains that dungeons and caves (such as the abandoned sewers the protagonists are currently running through) always have bioluminescent mushrooms, or glowing muck, or just glow in general, so passing heroes can see their way. As the protagonists at the moment consist of a dwarf and a troll, both of whom can see in darkness just fine, the effect is somewhat wasted.
  • Splinter of the Mind's Eye: When Luke and Leia enter a series of caves, they discover to be lit by luminescent fungus growing on the walls.
  • Xanth: In The Source Of Magic, sunflower blossoms are tiny glowing suns. They give off light equal to daylight that's capable of blinding others. When a sunflower goes to seed, the light fades.
  • In Warrior Cats, the Whispering Cave in SkyClan's gorge has phosphorescent moss growing inside. The cats find it odd and mysterious, and it ends up being the place where they can communicate with StarClan, the spirits of their ancestors.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, glowing fungi and lichens appear in the underground settings of several 1st Edition AD&D adventures, including D1 Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa, Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits and A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords. They are included to make it easier for PC adventurers to see if they lose their artificial light sources.

    Video Games 
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: The Aberration dlc has a location aptly called the luminous marshlands where no sunlight can reach but it's under a constant blue glow from the bioluminescent plants and fungus growing there, including the water. Visually it's one of the more stunning biomes in the game but it also has deadly creatures like the swarming Nameless, cloaked hunting Rockdrakes and Reaper Kings can sometimes be summoned there by Nameless alphas.
  • Aquaria: The Song Plants give off a glow of whichever color corresponds to the note that opens them and there's a blue plant whose bulbs glow blue with a healing energy converted from the essence of the Verse. The Abyss also contains a couple of glowing plants that you can find to decorate the Blackout Basement area of Naija's home. The Jelly Beacon, a decoration that attracts jellyfish and resembles an anglerfish's lure, is also described as a plant.
  • Dawn: The landscape of the game is dotted with many plants and mushrooms.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: The mushrooms in Crumble Cavern provide a gentle glimmer that helps to light up the grotto.
  • Don't Starve:
    • The extensive cave systems accessible through sinkholes are home to two types of bioluminescent plants, the mushtrees — tree-sized mushrooms that shine with faint blue, red or green glows, depending on which color variation they come in — and light flowers — true plants that sprout either one, two or three glowing white spheres at the end of tall stalks. Since the caves are otherwise completely lightless, and since in Don't Starve walking into the darkness is an excellent way of dying a horrible death, the occasional groves of mushtrees and light flowers provide invaluable oases of relative safety. The bulbs of light flowers can also be used to craft lanterns, although doing so also means shrinking the size of the permanent illuminated areas.
    • Glow berries, also found in the caves, are a subversion. At first they appear to be a small plant with a fruit that gives off a faint blue light... until you get close, at which point they're revealed to be the stalked, glowing lures of giant wormlike predators using your attraction to light to draw you within striking range.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: There are a couple of types of glowing mushrooms — violet coprusnote  and luminous russula.
    • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: The Shivering Isles have two varieties of glowing fungus that can be harvested for ingredients. The Flame Stalk is bright orange and grows in the caves of Mania. The pods harvested from them also glow and can be used for healing potions. The Withering Moon is its counterpart in Dementia and gives off a Sickly Green Glow.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Glowing mushrooms can be found growing in some caves. There is also the nirnroot, a plant which glows and makes a sound. Alson caverns the the Valley of the Falmer are lit by glowing flowers that can retract themselves to their shells.
  • Eternal Sonata has the Heaven's Mirror (also known as Death Lights), which absorb sunlight during the day and open at night, glowing brightly.
  • Fallout: In the setting's post-apocalyptic world, it's not an uncommon side effect of the heavy radiation, widespread mutagens and generally seemingly omnipresent mutations for sections of the flora to develop bioluminescence.
    • Fallout: New Vegas fills most of the caves with glowing, apparently radioactive fungus.
    • Fallout 4:
      • There are clusters of tall-stalked mushrooms scattered throughout the game world that glow with a steady green light.
      • The expansion Far Harbor introduces the lure weeds, aquatic plants found floating on standing water throughout the Island. Each plant sports one or two tall stalks tipped with flower-like structures that emit a bright yellow glow, strong enough to be visible during the day. Unfortunately, these structures look a great deal like the lures of the anglers, highly mutated, humanoid anglerfish the size of a person, which have developed the habit of lurking amongst patches of lure weeds, disguising their own lure as another plant as they wait for prey to walk close.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy X: The Gagazet Cave contains underground ponds with colorful glowing shelf fungi growing from the submerged stalagmites.
    • Final Fantasy XII: The Sochen Cave Palace is lit primarily by glowing moss of various pastel colors.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: The Sulyya Springs are a half-flooded caves system with patches of glowing moss and other small glowing plants. Unlike in Sochen, however, these all glow green.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Dohn Mheg is a sprawling garden full to bursting with magically-glowing flowers. Given that the area is a palace garden belonging to a noble of The Fair Folk, this is entirely appropriate.
  • Flower: Several flowers glow faintly; the fourth level, which takes place at nighttime, takes it to breathtakingly gorgeous extremes, with entire fields of luminous flowers looking like pretty fireflies.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage, the first part of the Castle of Dreams world has patches of flowers that give off a soft glow in various colors, establishing the general destroyed-but-eerily-beautiful aesthetic of the worlds dragged into the Realm of Darkness.
  • The Legend of Spyro: The gills of the giant mushrooms of the dragonflies' swamp glow purple. This isn't particularly visible by day, but it's much more obvious at night.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the humongous mushrooms Link encounters in the dark corners of Skyview Temple emit a strong light blue glimmer that allows Link to see.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Somewhat counterintuitively, the plants that convey stealth bonuses when cooked — Silent Shrooms and the flowers of the Blue Nightshade and Silent Princess plants — glow a faint blue at night, making them far more noticeable to the player. This is especially noticeable in the lightless Thyphlo Ruins, where the glowing caps of Silent Shrooms stand out very sharply in the pitch darkness. Also, in the Korok Forest, there are luminescent peapods that act like streetlights.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Heleus Cluster has many examples of glowing trees and fungi. Jaal, a local, advises not to touch the ones found on Havarl, which are poisonous to the touch.
  • Metroid:
  • Miitopia: Many flowers in the magical and beautiful Realm of the Fay start to glow when the night falls, including the gorgeous, giant lotus flowers seen in Lotus Lake and the periwinkles in Bigg Forest.
  • Minecraft: The 1.18 update added an underground biome known as lush caves,note  which are illuminated by bioluminescent vegetation known as glow berries, which grow on cave vines and emit the same amount of light as torches. You can collect the glow berries and place wherever you want, or eat them to replenish a small amount of hunger. The 1.17 update also added an underground vegetation that grows on any stony surface known as glow lichen, which emits a small amount of light (7 versus a maximum of 15).
  • Pikmin:
    • Luminescent mushrooms called Common Glowcaps appear in every mainstream game to date, and in Pikmin 3, their glimmer lightens up dark areas. They're mostly blue, but a pink variation appears in 3. They become particularly important in the fight against the Vehemoth Phosbat and its brood: as these creatures are actively hurt by the light — the Vehemoth is unable to pursue you and your Pikmin while you're standing in a Glowcap's light, and the smaller Phosbats will be quickly killed by the same — it's in your best interests to make as many glowing mushrooms grow throughout the cave the Phosbat lives in as you can.
    • Pikmin 2: Subverted with the Glowstems. They're classified as a plant in the in-game Pikipedia like all other vegetable scenery of importance, Olimar gives them a scientific name and Louie tests them for edibility, same as they do for all other organisms they find... except that they're actually just LEDs half-buried in the ground, which Olimar and Louie have mistaken for light-emitting plants.
  • Plants vs. Zombies The Plantern is a plant shaped like a lantern and emits what looks like candlelight. Its main function is to help you see in foggy levels. Also, the Mushroom Garden is lit almost entirely by luminescent fungi.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon X and Y gave us Pumpkaboo and its evolution Gourgeist, malevolent Jack-O'Lantern Grass/Ghost Pokémons that emit rays of lights from their pumpkin-like bodies.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon introduced the Illuminating Pokémon Morelull and its evolution, Shiinotic. Both are mushroom Grass/Fairy type Pokémon that glow in dark forests and emit flickering spores. Shiinotic, being one of the most malevolent Fairy types, uses these to confuse humans and Pokémon alike so they get lost forever in the forest, where they then hypnotize them and feed on their Life Energy.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield has Glimwood Tangle, a mysterious, dark forest lit up by glowing mushrooms that glow brighter if touched. It leads to Ballonlea, a town similarly lit up by colorful glowing mushrooms.
  • The Sims 3: The Life Fruit is a mystical fruit with resurrection properties that gently glows and sports a cute little glimmering halo. It can even be used as a natural light source on the lot. Supernatural also introduced some varieties of bioluminescent mushrooms that can be used to craft potions.
  • Starbound:
    • Bioluminescence biomes are full of glowing plants, alongside glowing rocks and glowing critters. You can harvest the local flora's "glow fibre" to create glowsticks and glowing furniture to light up your own nights, some of which just consist of potting glowing bushes, flowers and vines to use as nightlamps.
    • Slime biomes are full of glowing slime pods.
    • Florans illuminate their homes with glowing plants that give off a muted green light, instead of using more conventional methods of illumination. Their chief reason for doing this is because, being intelligent plants themselves, they have a profound fear of fire.
    • The ocean floors are lit with glowing "oshrooms", or ocean mushrooms.
  • Streetpass Mii Plaza: Several legendary flowers the Miis can groom in Flower Town emit glistening lights, namely the Jack-O'Luna, the Neonara, the Goldenglow, the Feisty Fireworks, and the Sparklestar. After all they are legendary, so it makes them all the more beautiful. All of them are based on light sources: a Jack-O'Lantern, neons, a lantern, fireworks and a starry sky respectively.
  • Subnautica: Many deep-sea plants (including a tree) are just as bioluminescent as the rest of the living things living there. This was probably to exaggerate the stereotypical abyssal theme, since many bioluminescent creatures live in this biome in Real Life.
  • In Sunless Sea, Varchas, the Mirrored City, harbors an intense aversion towards darkness. Amongst the many light sources found in the city are some omnipresent luminescent "fungal flowers". One of the quests has Varchas' main mirror shattered, stripping the town of most of its lights, and the fungi stopped glowing at the same time.
  • In Sunless Skies, the Reach features a lot of glowing mushroom as well as luminescent spores floating in the air to ramp up the Scenery Porn. Some of these luminous mushrooms are in the same plane as the gameplay, and their blue light is powerful enough to illuminate a decent area around them.
  • The Subspace Emissary: The grotto Kirby, Mario, Link, Pit and Yoshi visit after storming into King Dedede's castle has several patches of glowing mushrooms to provide some light in several areas.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon: Luminescent mushrooms grow on the massive tree around which the Haunted Towers are built, adding to the general eeriness of the building.
    • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam: The flowers in the darkest part of Gloomy Woods glow in a soothing, yellow light adding to the eerie and supernatural atmosphere. Unfortunately, that doesn't ward the Boos away.
    • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars: In the end credits, bioluminescent Toads march in the parade as it transitions to night. This is the only time in the series that Toads have been seen with this ability.
  • In Undertale, a lot of places in Waterfall (and a secret location in Snowdin) contain bioluminescent mushrooms that emanate a light blue glow. They can be turned off and on when interacted with.

  • In Charby the Vampirate the titular character ends up receiving a pair of glowing acorns from an entity in Kellwood forest that contain some of its essence. He gives one to Victor since he knows Vic is somehow connected to the entity even if Victor is completely unaware.
  • Girl Genius: When Agatha's group is traveling the river beneath Paris they pass several groupings of giant glowing toadstools on the riverbanks.
  • Roza: At one point, the titular character enters a dark tunnel lit only by the faint aquamarine glow of clusters of mushrooms growing throughout it.

    Web Original 
  • Orion's Arm: Luminous plants and fungi are among the various ways some cultures keep their ambient light up. Examples include the fields of glowing trees, grasses and mushrooms that provide light for Bism, the deepest of Mercury's cavern layers.
  • Sagan 4: In the Alpha timeline, many types of flora can glow, including flashkelps, glowshrooms, and nightcrystals.
  • SCP Foundation: One file deals with SCP-621 ("Hypnobulbs"). SCP-621 are an anomalous variant of several types of plants, including tulips (particularly Didier's tulips), roses and lettuce. They are naturally bioluminescent in a variety of colors, but most often purple, blue, or green. The glow has a hypnotizing effect on human beings and many types of animals that causes them to protect the plant.

    Western Animation 
  • The Dragon Prince: In "The Dagger and the Wolf", the cave Claudia seeks out to find ingredients for her tracking spell is home to a mini-biosphere lit by bioluminescent mushrooms.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: At the end of "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?", after having overcome an entity that twisted her dreams into nightmares, Luna dreams of enjoying a peaceful, untroubled night's sleep beneath a tree bearing giant, softly glowing blossoms wider than the bed she sleeps on, in the middle of a surreal nighttime dreamscape full of other phosphorescent plants and mushrooms, all of enormous size.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Moist Vessel", there are pink bulbs that, when plucked from the large blue plant they grow on, will glow and then explode.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • "Bombad Jedi": Rodia is shown to have large creeping vines with glowing round growths which are planted along tall buildings and walls in public places.
    • "Nomad Droids": Pattitite Pattuna is cover by fields of grass-like stems studded with glowing blue, lilac and blue berry-like structures, as well as clusters of glowing red globes and dangling roots floating through the air.
    • Umbara's native trees bear various rectangular or circular patches on their trunks, as well as pronged, trident-like structures on top of taller stems, that glow with lilac or red light, making them easily visible in the planet's perpetual night.

    Real Life 
  • Though not technically plants, dinoflagellates, a type of algae, are both photosynthetic and bioluminescent and will glow when disturbed.
  • Genetically engineered plants which can glow have been created by scientists.