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August 28, 2022 8:24 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for examples from pop culture of sentient plants, and carnivorous plants. Or even better, examples of sentient, carnivorous plants!

I've got Little Shop of Horrors, Day of the Triffids and those fire flowers from Super Mario Bros, but surely there are newer characters than that. Plants from media for kids is welcome.
posted by keeo to Society & Culture (50 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's always Flowey from Undertale.
Bob the Angry Flower is written for a more adult audience.
Would the grass-type Pokémon be relevant?
posted by xedrik at 8:32 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The TVTropes entry for Man-Eating Plant has zillions of examples. The entry for Plant Person and its sub-types cover a lot of sentient plants.
posted by jedicus at 8:33 AM on August 28

Best answer: The Ents in Lord Of The Rings.

The Ents are described as trees that were awoken by the elves way back at the dawn of time. Some Ents seem to turn back in to trees, and some trees are described as becoming entish, so they're definitely plants, I reckon. Whilst the Ents themselves just seem to live on fancy mineral water, the Huorns (sort of wild warrior Ents?) are implied to be kind-of carnivorous, I think, in that the orcs that flee into the forest of Huorns at Helm's Deep are never seen again, so perhaps get mashed up and digested by them in some way.
posted by tomsk at 8:33 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]

One from my childhood - Little Weed in Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men.
posted by essexjan at 8:34 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Zhaan on Farscape waa supposed to ne a sentient plamt.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:34 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Are we including trees? There's Tolkien's ents, and before that there were hostile fighting trees in the Wizard of Oz.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:36 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Alice's Adventures through the Looking Glass had a whole garden of talking flowers.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:37 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ancients and Treants are sentient plants in World of Warcraft. Also Lashers and various Roots that are arguably non-sentient but definitely violent and probably carnivorous.
posted by invincible summer at 8:37 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Plants vs Zombies
posted by Adifferentbear at 8:42 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The apple tree in Wizard of Oz
posted by Sassyfras at 8:44 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

The apple trees in The Wizard of Oz.

posted by Thorzdad at 8:45 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

That would be Triffids.
posted by BobTheScientist at 8:55 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]

There was a very brief sci fi series in the 70s called Quark starring Richard Benjamin. One of the characters was Ficus, a human-looking sentient plant who "shriveled up when he became dehydrated".
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:55 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]

Little Shop of Horrors? Oops, I can't read. Nevermind.
posted by kbanas at 9:10 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

The Rescue Riders tv show, which my kids are into, has Tangle Vines which are carnivorous but probably not sentient by your definition.
posted by inkyz at 9:24 AM on August 28

There's a whole planet of sentient plants in the sci-fi novel Semiosis.
posted by umber vowel at 9:30 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]

McDonaldlands used to have Apple Pie Trees.
posted by box at 9:36 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Mushroom People
posted by brachiopod at 9:37 AM on August 28

Best answer: Would Swamp Thing count? After all, it's a man-plant hybrid....
posted by Bigbootay. Tay! Tay! Blam! Aargh... at 9:41 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Frank the Plant from the Harley Quinn animated series.
posted by automatic cabinet at 9:42 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Also, the Womaneater, a cheesy 1958 movie about a carnivorous (and strangely misogynystic) tree.....
posted by Bigbootay. Tay! Tay! Blam! Aargh... at 9:45 AM on August 28

Response by poster: These are great. Thank you!
posted by keeo at 9:53 AM on August 28

Iris Hindman has a whole green house of sentient plants in Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report". I love the way they are subtly transitioned with graphics in the film.
posted by effluvia at 10:30 AM on August 28

Best answer: Also, Harry Potter series has a lot of references to animated plants. Whomping Willow, the Mandrake Root, and the living maze, to name just a few.
posted by effluvia at 10:31 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The Last Unicorn has a sentient, lecherous tree.
posted by scrubjay at 10:53 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

The Skoderiders in Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep
posted by kindall at 11:12 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Earth has been taken over by plants, many of which are sentient, in Brian Aldiss' The Long Afternoon of Earth.

In Richard McKenna's Hunter Come Home, a planet-spanning plant 'wakes up' because human beings show up and try to exterminate it in order to establish a game park. I loved this book as a kid.

In James H Schmitz's The Pork Chop Tree, the telepathic Hana dominate a number of planets and are gearing up to try to exterminate humans because they mistake us for their ancient enemy returned.

In Naomi Novik's Uprooted, the Forest as a whole is sentient as are many individual trees within it — and makes for one of the most frightening and disturbing villains in all of fantasy, in my opinion.
posted by jamjam at 11:18 AM on August 28

Best answer: Elizabite: Adventures of a Carnivorous Plant by H. A. Rey. One of my childhood favorites.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 11:39 AM on August 28

Best answer: Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Clones of people grown from seed pods - sentient when fully mature.

And Hetsu in Zelda, Breath of the Wild is a plant based creature. Sentient, helper character.
posted by brookeb at 11:40 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]

I'm not sure I understand the question. All trees and plants are sentient.
posted by dobbs at 11:45 AM on August 28

Le Guin’s Vaster than Empires and More Slow features vegetal sentience.
posted by nat at 11:54 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Don Martin may be a stretch.
posted by AugustusCrunch at 12:34 PM on August 28

Oh gosh, how could I forget. Stephen King's The Shining had a whole garden of topiary animals that just maybe, out of the corner of your eye, moved. Slightly. Or maybe you were imagining it. How disappointing to find out the movie changed it to a boring ol' maze.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:01 PM on August 28

British Library Tales of the Weird series has a good selection of creepy plant stories in Evil Roots. Not all sentient, but all bad news. Might be a few examples in their Weird Woods as well.
posted by tinymojo at 1:05 PM on August 28

Angry Red Planet (1959) depicts some wacky flora and fauna residing on Mars, including what seems to be a large plant that takes a presumably nefarious interest in our plucky space crew.
posted by 2N2222 at 1:27 PM on August 28

Don't forget El Seed from that epitome of Gen X cartoonery, The Tick.
posted by daisystomper at 1:58 PM on August 28

The antagonists of Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors are all evil, sentient plants. As Wikipedia puts it:

The show featured two duelling forces. The heroes are humans called the Lightning League who drive white and silver vehicles with assorted weaponry led by a teenager named Jayce. The villains are organic plant-based creatures called the Monster Minds who travel via large green organic vines, which can grow in and across interstellar space, and sprout seeds that grow rapidly into further Monster Minds. They are led by the very first of the Monster Minds, Saw Boss.
posted by einekleine at 2:04 PM on August 28

Back in the 70s, the Electric Company had a recurring sketch with Luis Avalos (Pedro’s Plant Place) and a very fierce puppet named Maurice the Guard Plant. IIRC many a would-be criminal was thwarted by Maurice biting them.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:14 PM on August 28

The flowers from Pee-Wee's Playhouse.
posted by kimdog at 3:13 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]

Hey we got your sentient carnivorous plants right here:

Proxima Centauri (1935) by Murray Leinster has human space explorers encounter a race of intelligent plants that really love to serve man!

Somewhat less in your face, Balanced Ecology (1965) has some not-stupid carnivorous plants in a guest role dealing with some unwanted corporate intruders.
posted by ovvl at 4:34 PM on August 28

There’s a Chinese drama called Rattan - the female lead ticks all your boxes, in addition to sporting a fabulous wardrobe.
posted by needled at 5:41 PM on August 28

- Oh - and The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes by The Very Things - songs about sentient plants are just the best!
For the plants themselves, there is a whole album: Mort Garson's Plantasia - but I'm sure they know that already.
posted by rongorongo at 12:47 AM on August 29

With apologies, The Giving Tree.
posted by Mchelly at 5:40 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]

The Haunted Forest in Disney's Snow White has some sentient trees.
posted by cleverevans at 1:09 PM on August 29

Jelaza Kazone is the name of an ancient psychic tree from many books of the Liaden universe, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Such great books!
posted by hollyanderbody at 9:45 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]

Grandmother Willow in Disney's Pocahontas (1995)
posted by AdagioCantabile at 2:18 PM on August 31

Youtube channel, PBS' Storied just released a relevant video, Monster Plants and the Humans who Invent Them | Monstrum.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:03 PM on September 13

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