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Tree Vessel

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A ship or vessel of some kind is made out of a tree. It is not merely made of wood, this ship looks like — and possibly functions as — a giant tree. The tree is probably still alive, making it a Living Ship. It is probably cultivated or designed for this exact purpose, so it is Organic Technology.

Most often appears in Speculative Fiction, since no such vessels have been built in Real Life (unfortunately). The vessel is likely a spaceship, though it does not have to be.

This unusual type of ship may characterize the people who built/grew it. A single glance can show that its engineers are Space Elves who have developed advanced technology but are still In Harmony with Nature. Maybe they have a Green Thumb that allows them to control the tree. Perhaps they are Plant People.

A Sub-Trope of Living Ship. Compare Genius Loci and World Tree. See Lily-Pad Platform and Leaf Boat for more terrestrial examples of plants being used for transportation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon: The Makaiju ("Doom Tree" in the American dub) was originally a tree on an alien planet. When the planet was destroyed, it uprooted itself and proceeded to travel through space, sheltering some of the inhabitants of the planet in its roots.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Juraian ships are all sapient, giant trees that are shaped to look and function like spaceships. This also means that after being shot down, they can be regrown as long as the core tree survived.

    Comic Books 
  • Saga: There's an entire forest of rocketship trees, and they don't die once they've blasted off. They're very much alive as they travel through space and seemingly fond of their passengers.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Fountain: Tom the astronaut travels to a distant nebula in one of these. It resembles a bubble surrounding an unusual tree that is Implied to be the Tree of Life.

  • In 100 Cupboards, a former slave galley is taken over by a magical aspen forest, becoming essentially a boat-shaped floating grove. Unfortunately this makes the vessel much slower, and Monmouth (who was only hoping to get the wood to spit out the slave shackles) is mortified when he realises what's happened.
  • Animorphs: Pemalite ships use huge trees as computers for their spaceships. Even Ax (whose species' ships have giant biodomes filled with forests and plains) finds it ridiculous.
  • Discworld: The Last Continent does this with a tree that's been made into a boat by the local god of evolution. The sail is a leaf, the hull is a floating seed, etc.
  • Doctor Who: 11 Doctors 11 Stories: The Fourth Doctor's The Roots of Evil takes place inside the trunk of a semi-sentient, planet-sized tree orbiting a barren planet. It's inhabited by a civilization that one of the Doctor's future regenerations exiled there for enslaving another race. The tree has its own atmosphere and gravitation field, even growing other plants the people inside survive on.
  • Genesis Quest and Second Genesis involve travelling in heavily engineered spacegoing Poplar trees that use reflective leaves as solar sails, and whose trunk holds air spaces.
  • Hyperion Cantos: The Ouster "Treeships", which are built around a single, massive living tree made vacuum-sealed and spaceworthy by containment fields. The one the characters visit in the second book has a grand piano, a river flowing like a mobius strip around the tree and several little isles scattered in it's branches.
  • The Integral Trees takes place in a ring of breathable air orbiting a neutron star. Various plants and animals have evolved to live in this bizarre environment, including floating trees which the main characters live on.
  • Revelation Space Series: The "Greenfly" infestation that is taking over the galaxy in Absolution Gap is shown to be billions of self-contained biospheres containing trees and tree-like plants.
  • Xeelee Sequence: In Raft, one of the strange lifeforms in the high-gravity universe is a species of mobile floating trees. Humans turn them into vessels and steer them through space.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Space vessels created by elves in Spelljammer are grown, not built, from living, leafy trees.
  • Starfinder: Xenowarden ships are seamless mixes of technology and plant life that are grown as much as built. The most common models are modular, podlike ships shrouded in large leaves that act as solar panels and armed with spore pod launchers. The largest, rarest capital ships are essentially spaceworthy forests, with numerous titanic trees anchored around a technological core and protected by force fields from the hard vacuum of space. On the one hand, these ships are remarkably self-sufficient, as they run almost entirely on solar power and can produce enough oxygen and hydroponic food to sustain their crews indefinitely. On the other, their organic makeup makes them very vulnerable to radiation-based weaponry.
  • Warhammer: Downplayed by the High Elves. Each ship in their navy is formed from a single enormous tree, carefully planted and attended by elven wizards channeling Ghyran, magically forming it into the needed shape over hundreds of years before uprooting it and moving it into a drydock for finishing. The hull is a hollow trunk and the masts are carefully shaped branches, its own sap wrung out to form a tough and tight outer seal.

    Video Games 
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: The World Tree is an interesting example. It started off as a Space Elevator that housed the Conduit, but after human scientist Klaus succeeded in creating a new universe and was split into two halves, the station stayed behind in the old universe with Klaus' good half, and vegetation eventually came to coat the station, giving it a tree-like appearance. To the modern citizens of Alrest, this station is now the World Tree that is fabled to house the promised land of Elysium at its peak.

  • Alice Grove: The Praeses are vast, space-dwelling tree-like organisms of unknown origin who host civilizations of Transhumans in orbit above Earth. The climax reveals that the colonies and colonists are a virtual reality simulated by the Praeses, who have forgotten where they came from and why.

    Web Original 
  • Orion's Arm
    • "Dyson Trees" are genetically engineered giant plants that can survive in vacuum and synthesizes nutrients from ices found in comets or icy asteroids, into which they're rooted, and can grow into vast orbital habitats. Inside their trunks and larger branches, there are sealed hollows filled with air, inside which other lifeforms — like humans — can live, while their spherical canopies support further air- and water-filled habitats, as well as space-adapted lifeforms.
    • Spacecraft like this are mentioned as being used by the Eh'ern, furry, egg-shaped aliens from an arboreal planet in the Triangulum Galaxy. They're an ancestrally arboreal species and primarily live in space-adapted derivatives of their homeworld's arboreal plants, similar to much larger Dyson trees, which they sometimes outfit with reactionless drives to turn into immense, interstellar ships.