1 Tekazahn

Charles Willard Diffen Bibliography Apa

 The Fish in Prison

Timeline of Botanical Fictions

This list of "botanical fiction" collects  narratives that prominently feature plants, fungi, or plant-like entities, drawn from across the many genres of speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy, horror, weird fiction, slipstream, etc. The timeline is a perpetual work-in-progress, and will eventually be organized into a more user-friendly sortable database. For now, most of the titles link to the more complete bibliographic information available on The Internet Speculative Fiction Database, and numbers in parentheses refer to Everett F. Bleiler's enormously helpful plot summaries in the reference volumes The Guide to Supernatural Fiction (1983); Science-Fiction: The Early Years (1990); and Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years (1998). I am slowly writing my own annotations for each of the entries, and I will be updating this page with them continuously. For now, this database only compiles examples from literature and film, but fantastic plants also flourish in graphic novels, television serials, anime, video and tabletop games, and other cultural ephemera like advertisements. Those interested in the many manifestations of botanical fiction in other media may find this index on TV Tropes a useful enough starting place for research.
If you would like to contribute a title or more to this list, or correct any error, please contact me at ts.tsmiller@gmail.com.

Botanical Fiction, 1844-Present

1844 -- "Rappaccini's Daughter", by Nathaniel Hawthorne (GSF 777[d]; SF: TEY 1070[d])
1872 -- Lumen, by Camille Flammarion (SF: TEY 775a)
1874 -- "Crinoida Dajeeana" / "The Man-Eating Tree (of Madagascar)", by Anonymous [Edmund Spencer]: A hoaxed news item frequently reprinted until at least the 1920s, having originally appeared in The New York World, where Spencer was a staff writer. The original article claims to reproduce a letter from one Karl Leche (sometimes spelled "Carl Liche") to a Dr. Omelius Friedlowsky, telling of the former's discovery of a horrific, tentaculate pitcher plant in the jungles of Madagascar. Later published as an acknowledged fiction, this narrative is undoubtedly one of the most important and influential documents in the history of the modern monster plant. 
1877 -- The Manatitlans, Or, A Record of Recent Scientific Explorations in the Andean La Plata, S. A., by R. Elton Smile (SF: TEY 2053): A race of small people dwell inside flowers. 
1879 -- "The American's Tale", by Arthur Conan Doyle (SF:TEY 608[a])
1880 -- Kildhurm's Oak, by Julian Hawthorne (GSF 773)
1881 -- "The Man-Eating Tree", by Phil Robinson (SF: TEY 1890[d])
1883 -- "The Balloon Tree", by Edward Page Mitchell (SF: TEY 1522[k])
1887 -- Rondah; Or, Thirty-three Years in a Star, by Florence Carpenter Dieudonné (SF: TEY 584); (GSF 540)
1888 -- "The Crime of Micah Rood", by Elia W. Peattie
1889 -- "Carnivorine", by Lucy H. Hooper
1889 -- Captain Kiddle: A Fantastic Romance, by A. M. Fleming (SF: TEY 781): The only marvelous plants in this adventure story appear in a brief episode in which trees are cut down and become instantly useable planks upon hitting the ground.
1889 -- Sea and Land, by James W. Buel: This curious 19th-century reappearance of the bestiary is framed as an evolutionary history of the natural world since its beginning, but, in its introduction, the compiler makes it clear that he has deliberately set out to collect the most marvelous examples of "the evolutions in nature" -- but also, one should note, "only those things which are best calculated to inspire the loftiest conceptions of Deity" (1). Chapter XXVI is dedicated exclusively to "Curiosities of the Vegetable World," and begins documenting marvelous trees used for various purposes by "natives" around the world. To his credit, when Buel arrives at the Javanese Upas Tree, he presents a more realistic account of the legendary poison tree's potency, but he then moves on to present a less strictly scientific take on "Carnivorous Plants" (474). His account of "A Man-Eating Tree" shares many of the characteristics that recur in the pulp narratives of this time and later: "Travelers have told us of a plant, which they assert grows in Central Africa and also in South America, that is not contented with myriad of larger insects which it catches and consumes, but its voracity extends to making even humans its prey. This marvelous vegetable Minotaur is represented as having a short, thick trunk, from the top of which radiate giant spines, narrow and flexible but of extraordinary tenaciousness, the edges of which are armed with barbs, or dagger-like teeth. Instead of growing upright, or at an inclined angle from the trunk, these spines lay their outer ends upon the ground, and so gracefully are they distributed that the trunk resembles an easy couch with green drapery around it. The unfortunate traveler, ignorant of the monstrous creation which lies in his way, and curious to examine the strange plant, or to rest himself upon its inviting stalk approaches without a suspicion of his certain doom. The moment his feet are set within the circle of the horrid spines, they rise up, like gigantic serpents, and entwine themselves about him until he is drawn upon the stump, when they speedily drive their daggers into his body and thus complete the massacre. The body is crushed until every drop of blood is squeezed out of it and becomes absorbed by the gore-loving plant, when the dry carcass is thrown out and the horrid trap set again"(475). Buel singles out one type of Central American anthropophagous tree that more resembles an iron maiden and is allegedly called the "Yateveo" -- Spanish for "I see you" -- due to the uncanny noise it makes resembling this phrase. Buel cites an unnamed African explorer who has seen a similar tree -- presumably the fictitious Karl Leche (see the entry for 1874, "Crinoide Dajeeana," above) -- but reminds us that there may be reason to suspect travellers of exaggerating.
1891 -- "The Giant Wistaria", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Gilman subtly incorporates the monster plant into an otherwise straightforward feminist ghost story. Two American couples choose a house in which to vacation in search of a ghost story, and find one. Their ghost turns out to be a young English woman who a century earlier had an illicit affair that produced a child; in order to avoid shame, her parents planned to compel her to return to England to marry a despised cousin and leave the infant in America. The repressiveness of the social structures that bind the young woman become embodied in the titular wisteria vine, a locus of mild horror during the entire tale that in the final line is revealed as a strangling monster: "And there, in the strangling grasp of the roots of the great wistaria, lay the bones of a woman." More scholarship has been produced on this tale than for many of the other stories on this list, and it is often considered in conjunction with Gilman's more famous "The Yellow Wallpaper." 
1892 -- Messages from Mars, By Aid of the Telescope Plant, by Robert Braine (SF: TEY 256)
1893 -- "The Man Who Desired to Be a Tree", by J.H. Pearce (GSF 1294[e]): A student drowses under an elm after reading from Spenser's Faerie Queen, and decides that he would like to become a tree himself: "A tree has a life void of trouble"; "To be a tree is to be in touch with Nature nakedly; to be stripped of the disguises that have gathered about the man, and to be thrown back blankly into the narrowest groove of life." Here we have tree as noble savage, an idealization and idolization we frequently see of animals. The man transforms into an elm, just as he desires, after a dryad-like voice offers to grant his request; interestingly, for a time the only reminder he has of his human life is the book lying at his roots, perhaps evidence of man's violence against trees. At one point the mysterious Lord of the Forest offers to return the man to his human form, but the story ends with the man choosing to remain a tree.
1894 -- "The Flowering of the Strange Orchid", by H.G. Wells (SF:TEY 2326[a]; SF:TGY 1685)
1894 -- "The Treasure in the Forest", by H.G. Wells
1894 -- The Winged Demon; Or, The Gold King of the Yukon, by Gilbert Patten (SF: TEY 1755)
1894 -- A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future, by John Jacob Astor (SF: TEY 85): On Jupiter, explorers discover a carboniferous world with dinosaurs, etc., and also some musical plants.
1895 -- "The Gold Plant", by George Griffith (SF: TEY 951[d]): An unusual plant consumes gold and acquires gilt leaves.
1895 -- Journey to Venus: The Primeval World, Its Wonderful Creations and Gigantic Monsters, by Gustavus W. Pope (SF: TEY 1806): Electric trees flourish on Venus among other strange forms of life.
1896 -- "The Purple Pileus", by H.G. Wells (SF:TEY 2328[f])
1896 -- The Devil-Tree of El Dorado: A Romance of British Guiana, by Frank Aubrey [Francis Atkins] (SF: TEY 92): A lost race narrative in which the South American natives sacrifice humans to a carnivorous tentacled plant.
1896 -- The Tyrants of Kool-Sim, by James MacLaren Cobban (SF:TEY 443)
1896 -- "The Maker of Moons", by Robert W. Chambers (GSF 365[a])
1896 -- "The Guardian of Mystery Island", by Edmond Nolcini (SF: TEY 1627)
1896 -- "The Island of Professor Menu", by J.F. Sullivan (SF: TEY 2139[a]): A far more lighthearted take on Wells's Island of Doctor Moreau than the other narratives that add plant-animal hybrids to the mad scientist's repertoire (see, for example, 1927's "Evolution Island" and 1936's "Nightmare Island," below). Sullivan's mad scientist is simply a mad cook who serves, for example, the porcupineapple he has created.
1897 -- The Silent City, by "Noname" [Luis P. Senarens?] (SF: TEY 1656)
1897/8 -- The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells (SF: TEY 2331; SF: TGY 1697)
1898 -- "An Astral Onion", by Elia W. Peattie (GSF 1296[k]) 
1898 -- The City Without a Name, by H.A. Moody (SF: TEY 1540)
1899 -- "The Purple Terror", by Fred M. White (SF: TEY 2363)
1899 -- A Queen of Atlantis: A Romance of the Caribbean Sea, by Frank Aubrey [Francis Atkins] (SF: TEY 93): A prequel Aubrey's 1896 The Devil-Tree of El Doradothat does not feature any similarly carnivorous plant, but does imagine a fairy-like race of flower-dwelling people.
1901 -- Visitors from Mars: A Narrative, by Charles Cole (SF: TEY 444): A visitor to Mars learns, among many other things, that some Martians live inside a gigantic tree rather than a conventional town. Cf. the more sinister oversized tree in Jack Vance's 1951 Son of the Tree.
1904 -- "The Vengeance of a Tree", by Eleanor F. Lewis (GSF 839[f]): An innocent man is hanged for a murder he had nothing to do with, and the tree on which he was hanged later falls down on his killer. From the broken stump of the vengeful tree can be seen "a gray, dim shape" flitting away (43). 
1904 -- The Food of the Gods, by H.G. Wells (SF: TEY 2337)
1904 -- "The Meat-Fed Giant", by George L. Gibson (SF: TEY 880): In the 23rd century, the title character discovers that vegetarianism has caused the majority of the human race to degenerate into a small, sickly race of dwarfs.
1905 -- Marooned in 1492; Or, Under Fortune's Flag, by William Wallace Cook (SF: TEY 468): The seeds of the Tempus fugitarius plant allow humans to travel in time.
1905 -- "A Vine on a House", by Ambrose Bierce (GSF 164[n])
1905 -- "The Gray Weed", by Owen Oliver
1905 -- "Professor Jonkin's Cannibal Plant", by Howard R. Garis (SF:TEY 846)
1906 -- "Quick Transit by Beanstalk, Limited", by Howard R. Garis (SF: TEY 848): A Professor Jonkin develops a swiftly-growing beanstalk like the one in the fairy tale, but finds it too dangerous for practical application.
1906 -- "Phalaenopsis Gloriosa", by John Jason Trent (SF: TEY 2201)
1907 -- "The Willows", by Algernon Blackwood (SF:TEY 212[a])
1907 -- "The Voice in the Night", by William Hope Hodgson (SF:TEY 1108[c])
1907 -- The Boats of the "Glen Carrig", by William Hope Hodgson (SF:TEY 1103)
1907 -- Flying Cows of Biloxi, by Benson Bidwell (SF:TEY 197)
1908 -- "The Tale of the Scarlet Butterflies", by Beatrice Grimshaw
1908 -- Five Thousand Miles Underground, or, the Mystery of the Centre of the Earth, by Roy Rockwood (SF: TEY 1895)
1909 -- "The Prayer of the Flowers", by Lord Dunsany: A short short story about the encroachment of industrial civilization on the natural world, as viewed through the subjectivity of a field of flowers; the story concludes with their reassurance by Pan, here the voice of deep time: "The flowers were right in the stride of that advancing city, and thence I heard them sending up their cry. And then I heard, beating musically up wind, the voice of Pan reproving them from Arcady -- 'Be patient a little, these things are not for long.'"
1909 -- "When the Red Rust Came", by Radliffe Martin (SF: TEY 1448): A Dutch professor manages to end a German occupation of his country by developing and unleashing a grain-eating fungus on the Germans.
1910 -- "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot", by Arthur Conan Doyle
1910 -- "The Black Orchid", by Marjorie L.C. Pickthall
1910 -- "The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral", by M.R. James (GSF 912[e]): A clergyman is haunted and eventually killed by figurines carved from the wood of the old Hanging Oak. The wood is revealed to have a charm on it that punishes those with blood on their hands, which the clergyman did indeed have. Cf. the avenging wood in M.P. Dare's 1947 story "Fatal Oak," below.
1910 -- "The Biological Burglar", by Paul Bo'ld (SF: TEY 235)
1911 -- "The Orchid Horror", by John Blunt
1911 -- "Other Kingdom", by E.M. Forster (GSF 645[d]): The story opens with a private tutor and a motley collection of students translating a line from Virgil's Eclogues (II.60) -- "Quem fugis ab demens habitarunt di quoque silvas" -- as "Whom are you avoiding, you silly ass, gods too have lived in the woods." A tongue-in-cheek discussion of the value of learning Latin and the classics ensues -- "They teach you how to dodge things" -- and concludes with some sly allusions to the vegetal transformations of classical mythology: "Suppose that long-haired brute Apollo wants to give you a music lesson. Well, out you pop into the laurels. Or Universal Nature comes along. You aren't feeling particularly keen on Universal Nature so you turn into a reed." Throughout the story Evelyn or "Miss Beaumont" demonstrates a special affinity with trees and indeed the natural world at large, and the story's conclusion insinuates that she has become a new Daphne, transformed into a tree herself and forever out of reach. For example, when her older fiance first announces that he has purchased her a small wood, she is ecstatic until she learns that he has in fact merely leased it for 99 years: Forster hints here that Evelyn is already thinking like a tree, as it were, in not considering 99 years the limit of a lifespan.
1912 -- "The Man Whom the Trees Loved", by Algernon Blackwood (GSF 182[a])
1913 -- "Spores of Death", by Sax Rohmer
1913 -- "Spawn of the Infinitude", by Edward S. Pilsworth (SF: TEY 1778)
1913 -- The Gods of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (SF: TEY 305)
1914 -- The Elixir of Life or 2905 A. D.: A Novel of the Far Future, by Herbert Gubbins (SF: TEY 960): One of the wonders of the future is a man-eating plant that ensnares its victims with pleasant hallucinations.
1915 -- "The Pavilion", by E. Nesbit (SFW 419[u] / SF:TEY 1605)
1917 -- "Over There", by Henry C. Rowland (SF: TEY 1925): Plants on Mars make music when they bloom.
1918 -- "The Garden on the Cliff", by Alfred Noyes (GSF 1243[e])
1918 -- The Nebula of Death, by George Allan England (SF: TEY 678): Plants and their chlorophyll are being damaged by changes in light spectra caused by the Earth passing through a nebula.
1919 -- "The Sumach", by Ulric Daubeny
1919 -- "The Green Rust", by Edgar Wallace (SF: TEY 2281): The Germans use a powerful wheat blight in an attempt to conquer the world.
1919 -- "The Warlock of Glororum", by Howard Pease (GSF 1295[i]): Two friends go on a ghost hunt in an old castle rumored to have belonged to a certain warlock, notorious as an "Astrologer, botanist, [and] poisoner" (193). When they discover his cell, in the darkness they discern a shape that "resembled a dead octopus with decayed black arms" (201), which finally resolves into "a giant species of Nepenthes (Nepenthes Ferocissimus) most monstrously developed, clutching in its long arms and horrid ascidiums the remains of a human victim -- apparently a woman" (201-202). The two men depart the castle immediately.
1920 -- "The Green Death", by H.C. McNeile (SF: TEY 1941)
1920 -- "The Thunder Beast", by Joseph B. Ames
1920 -- "The Green Splotches", by T.S. Stribling (SF: TEY 2122; SF: TGY 1460)
1921 -- "The Orchid Death", by James Hanson
1921 -- "The Red Dust", by Murray Leinster (SF: TEY 1311); (SF: TGY 839): A giant mushroom on Mars releases spores toxic to the planet's far-future human inhabitants.
1921 -- "The Tree", by H.P. Lovecraft (published 1938; GSF 1041[h])
1922 -- "Drosera Cannibalis", by René Morot
1922 -- "The Secret of Life", by Clement Fezandié (SF: TEY 721)
1923 -- "Si Urag of the Tail", by Oscar Cook (SF:TEY 463)
1923 -- "The Great Food Panic", by Burnie L. Bevill (SF: TEY 195): The world's food supply is endangered when a mad scientist attacks the world's plants with powerful rays.
1923 -- Fields of Sleep, by E. Charles Vivan (SF: TEY 2265): In a valley, a plant with a pleasant scent holds the inhabitants under an addictive spell. People addicted to the plant cannot leave the valley and live for more than two hours.
1923 -- "The Valley of Orchids", by Rose Champion de Crespigny (SF: TEY 554): The lure of orchid hunting lands adventurers in jungle danger. Cf. Hubert Roussel's 1939 story "Orchid Death."
1923 -- "Fungus Isle", by Philip M. Fisher, Jr. (SF: TEY 768)
1923 -- Nordenholt's Million, by J. J. Connington. (SF: TEY 459) A nitrogen-eating bacterium results in the widespread death of vegetation and the cessation of agriculture, triggering a collapse of civilization. Cf. John Christopher's 1956 novel The Death of Grass
1923 -- "The Devil Plant", by Lyle Wilson Holden (SF: TEY 1115): As Bleiler's summary indicates, this story is strongly influenced by Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado"; I would even say it exceeds homage to become a pastiche or repetition, as the opening paragraph makes plain: "It was the last straw! Injury upon injury I had borne without a murmur, but now I determined to revenge myself upon Silvela Castelar, let the cost be what it would. His malevolent influence has pursued me since early boyhood, and it was he who caused every fond hope of my life to tum to ashes before its realization" (The Best of Weird Tales: 1923 43). Although set in various Anglophone countries, the narrative retains a Mediterranean flavor that seems intended to underscore the debt to Poe: both characters are said to be "of Spanish blood" (43). Bizarrely, however, the "the instrument of [the narrator's] vengeance" is not a cask of choice wine but a the supposedly life-extending, vision-granting vintage: the nectar that a gigantic carnivorous plant actually uses to dull its prey's senses (44). The pineapple-shaped, betentacled "octopus plant" of this story corresponds quite closely to the crytobotanical man-eating tree of Madagascar described in the spurious and frequently reprinted "Karl Leche" account from 1874 (see above). 
1924 -- "The Pine That Walked", by Vernon Knowles (GSF 966[e]): A pine "dissatisfied with its lot in life" wishes for the ability to walk so that it may visit the south (95). One day the Father of the Gods grants it the ability to walk during the night only, and issues a warning that it must suffer the consequences of locomotion. In the South Country, a poor woodcutter chops it down when it arrives near his home.
1924 -- "The Sunken Land", by George W. Bayly (SF:TEY 145)
1924-5 -- The Living Death, by John Martin Leahy (SF: TEY 1293)
1925 -- "The Man-Trap", by Hamilton Craigie (SF: TEY 497)
1925 -- "Dorner Cordaianthus", by Hester Holland
1925 -- "The Lure of Atlantis", by Joel Martin Nichols, Jr. (SF: TEY 1618)
1925 -- "The Plant-Thing", by R. G. Macready (SF:TEY  1426): One of several botanical twists on The Island of Doctor Moreau from this time period: the professor even conducts his experiments with carnivorous plants in "the old Wells place" (Nightmare Garden 376). Although suspected to be a vivisectionist himself by the local farmers who sell him huge quantities of livestock, it turns out that he had merely been feeding the eponymous "plant-thing," a large tree that appears to have human ears for leaves, as well as eyes, a giant mouth, red blood, and octopoid tentacles. The professor explains the nature of his "travesty," originally bred from a specimen from Rhodesia: "For many years my brother scientists have sought for the so-called 'missing link' between man and ape. For my part, I dare to believe that I have discovered the 'link' between the vegetable and animal kingdoms" (379). The professor is narrowly saved from death at the tentacles of his own cross-bred creation by its destruction. 
1926 -- "The Women of the Wood", by A. Merritt (GSF 1165)
1926 -- "The Music of Madness", by William E. Barrett (SF: TEY 132)
1926 -- "The Painter of Trees", by Vernon Knowles (GSF 967[j])
1926 -- "Through the Crater's Rim", by A. Hyatt Verrill (SF: TGY 1538)
1926 -- Flower Phantoms, by Ronald Fraser (GSF 660)
1926-7 -- "The Star Shell", by Geo. C. Wallis and B. Wallis (SF:TEY 2296)
1927 -- "The Blood-Flower", by Seabury Quinn (GSF 1364[e]; also see SF:TEY 1821 for further information on Quinn and the detective series to which this story belongs)
1927 -- "Evolution Island", by Edmond Hamilton (SF:TEY 1006)
1927 -- The Spreading Stain: A Tale for Boys and Men with Boys' Hearts, by Charles J. Finger (SF: TEY 758): An experimental new weed killer turns out to be far too effective, creating a "black blight" that threatens all plant (and animal) life on the planet.
1927 -- The City of Glass, by Joel Martin Nichols, Jr. (SF: TEY 1620)
1927 -- "In the Days of the Monster Plants: A Nightmare of Nature", by Lou Hampton" (SF: TEY 1027d)
1927 -- "The Mystery of Sylmare", by Hugh Irish (SF: TEY 1164): Compare the 2008 film The Happening, below.
1927 -- "The Malignant Flower", by "Anthos" (SF: TGY 15)
1927 -- "The Devils of Po Sung", by Bassett Morgan (SF: TEY 1548)
1927 -- "Drome", by John Martin Leahy (SF: TEY 1294)
1928 -- "The Devil-Plant", by John Murray Reynolds (SF: TEY 1860)
1928 -- "The Giant World", by Ray Cummings (SF: TEY 529)
1928 -- "The Tree of Death", by Barry Pain (GSF 1286[a])
1928 -- "The Miracle of the Lily", by Clare Winger Harris (SF: TGY 586): In the future, all the world's vegetation has been consumed by insects. Human civilization barely survives, and finally begins to cultivate a few precious seeds. 
1928 -- "Skylark of Space", by Lee Hawkins Garby and E.E. "Doc" Smith (SF: TGY 1376)
1928 -- Astro Bubbles, by Marlo Field (SF: TEY 755): Musical flowers are but one wonder among many observed in the mystical otherworld of Cielo.
1929 -- Adam's First Wife, by Robert Speller and Jane Speller (SF: TEY 2077)
1929 -- "The Murgatroyd Experiment", by S.P. Meek (SF: TGY 980)
1929 -- "Up Irriwaddy Way", by Edgar Gardiner (SF: TEY 842)
1929 -- "Vampires of the Desert", by A. Hyatt Verrill (SF: TGY 1550)
1929 -- The Greatest Adventure, by John Taine (SF: TEY 2154)
1929 -- "The Gas-Weed", by Stanton A. Coblentz (SF: TGY 236): The editor praises the author for conceiving of "an entirely new menace [...,] nothing less than a vegetable visitor from outer space" (138), yet a large debt to Wells's War of the Worlds is obvious, not only in the delivery mechanism for the invasive plant, a fallen meteorite -- which would go on to become even more popular a star-faring vehicle for vegetable and animal invaders alike -- but also in the coloration of the "thick reddish growth of some mysterious vegetation" (140). The silicon-based, rapidly-growing plant mass is equipped with clawed tendrils, lethal spines, deadly poison gas that mirrors the biological weapons the humans had been using on each other during the second Great War the story forecasts, and protuberances that uncannily resemble human heads: "there are thousands who, to this day, [....] contend that the supposed plants were really not plants at all, but represented some cross between vegetable and animal life" (140). The story also invokes a form of panspermia to allow that the same mechanism that carried the plant enemy to Earth, "a thing inimical to human life" (143), may have been "one of the obscure causes of the origin of species" (142). After the warring nations of the earth recognize that the gas-weed is destroying all life on the planet, they unite to defeat the threat, which is neutralized by means of a bombardment with cancer cells. The story only very briefly ponders the nature of "the intelligence of the gas-weed -- if the uncanny force that guided it can be called intelligence" (144).
1929 -- "Within the Nebula", by Edmond Hamilton (SF: TEY 1012)
1929 -- The Ant Heap: A Novel, by Edward Knoblock (SF: TEY 1255)1929-1930 -- "Behind the Moon", by W. Elwyn Backus (SF:TEY 104)
1930 -- "The Plant Revolt", by Edmond Hamilton (SF:TEY 1017)
1930 -- "Moss Island", by Carl Jacobi (SF: TGY 655): A visitor to the titular island (off the New Brunswick Coast) discovers a vein of a marvelous fluid called muscivol, a distilled essence of moss that causes plants to grow at an increased rate. He accidentally spills the quart he has collected onto a patch of white moss, which grows into a tentacular plant monster that pursues him to the edge of the island.
1930 -- "The Beast Plants", by H. Thompson Rich (SF: TEY 1866): Bleiler charmingly comments, "Commercial work. The reader's sympathies may lie with the plants" (623).
1930 -- "Skylark Three", by E.E. "Doc" Smith (SF: TGY 1377)
1930 -- "The Forgotten Planet", by Sewell Peaslee Wright (SF: TGY 1786)
1930 -- "The Planet of Dread", by R. F. Starzl (SF: TGY 1418)
1930 -- "The Globoid Terror", by R. F. Starzl (SF: TGY 1420)
1930 -- "Suzanne", by J. Joseph-Renaud (SF: TEY 1204): A typical monstrous plant with fatal tentacles features here in a skeletal spy story plot: instead of waterboarding, potential informants are threatened with a Brazilian Nepenthes that has been grown to monstrous size simply through feeding it larger and larger meals. As the story's title hints, the plant is explicitly gendered female, although little is made of this in the narrative (in contrast to a story like 1934's "Succubus," below). At one point Suzanne's intended victim reflects that the plant "in some ways seemed to belong rather to the animal than the vegetable kingdom" (542-3), a milder version of the common reclassification of such plant monsters in botanical fiction. 
1930 -- "A Message from Mars", by Derek Ironside (SF: TEY 1165)
1930 -- "The Evening Star", by David H. Keller (SF: TGY 750)
1930 -- "The Ivy War", by David H. Keller (SF:TGY 752)
1930 -- "The Terrible Tentacles of L-472", by Sewell Peaslee Wright (SF: TGY 1787)
1930 -- "The Air-Plant Men", by Roger Wulfres (SF:TGY 1799)
1930 -- The Green Girl, by Jack Williamson (SF: TGY 1735)
1931 -- At the Mountains of Madness, by H.P. Lovecraft (published 1936): Like the fungal or vegetal zoophytes in several other of Lovecraft's stories, the Old Ones or Elder Things discovered in Antarctica defy classification as either animal or vegetable.
1931 -- "The Whisperer in Darkness", by H.P. Lovecraft
1931 -- "Via the Time Accelerator", by Frank J. Bridge (SF:TGY 132)
1931 -- "The Giant Puffball", by Eugene Stowell (SF: TGY 1456)
1931 -- "Emperors of Space", by Jerome Gross and Richard Penny (SF: TGY 519): The "yellow rot" from Asia begins destroying the world's crops.
1931 -- "The Menace from Andromeda", by Nat Schachner and Arthur Leo Zagat (SF: TGY 1279)
1931 -- "The Infra-Medians", by Sewell Peaslee Wright (SF: TGY 1798)
1931 -- "The Arrhenius Horror", by P. Schuyler Miller (SF: TGY 1008)
1931 -- When the Moon Ran Wild, by A. Hyatt Verrill (SF: TGY 1557)
1931 -- "Twelve Hours to Live!", by Jack Williamson (SF: TGY 1742)
1931 -- "The Stone from the Green Star", by Jack Williamson (SF: TGY 1743)
1931 -- "The Martian Nemesis", by George B. Beattie (SF:TGY 58)
1931 -- "The Tree-Man", by Henry S. Whitehead (GSF 1706[h])
1931 -- "A Voyage to Sfanomoë", by Clark Ashton Smith (GSF 1485[g])
1931 -- "The Red Spot of Jupiter", by Dennis McDermott [P. Schuyler Miller and Paul McDermott and Walter Dennis] (SF: TGY 918)
1931 -- "Green Thoughts", by John Collier (GSF 395)
1931 -- "Outlaws of the Sun", by Victor Rousseau (SF: TGY 1226)
1931 -- "Fish-Men of Arctica", by John Miller Gregory (SF: TGY 518): In a very minor episode of a long adventure story set in the mysterious realm underneath the Arctic ice, the hero rescues a beautiful native from a gigantic carnivorous plant that has trapped her (255-256).
1931 -- "The Moon Weed", by Harl Vincent (SF: TGY 1588)
1931 -- "The Copper-Clad World", by Harl Vincent (SF: TGY 1589)
1931 -- "A Voice from the Ether", by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach (SF: TGY 385)
1931 -- "Dark Moon", by Charles W. Diffin (SF: TGY 322)
1931 -- "Brood of the Dark Moon", by Charles Willard Diffin (SF: TGY 323)
1931 -- Seeds of Life, by John Taine
1931 -- "The Planet Entity" / "Seedling of Mars", by E.M. Johnston and Clark Ashton Smith (SF:TGY 672)
1932 -- "Flight into Super-Time", by Clark Ashton Smith (SF: TGY 1368) 
1932 -- "The Immortals of Mercury", by Clark Ashton Smith (SF: TEY 1979)
1932 -- "The Poplar Tree", by Philip Murray (GSF 1474[g]): The author claims inspiration in Tennyson's poem "Mariana," which features a lone poplar tree in a wasteland, with a shadow that haunts the title character (Tennyson's tree may evoke the legendary Dry Tree or Solitary Tree, on which see below). In Murray's story, a widow fixates on a solitary poplar tree with horror, and orders it chopped down. The tree seems implicated in her sudden death.
1932 -- "Guardians of the Void", by Arthur K. Barnes (SF:TGY 36)
1932 -- "The Pent House", by David H. Keller (SF: TGY 762)
1932 -- "The Gallows Tree", by Otis Adelbert Kline
1932 -- "Crusaders of Space", by Paul Chadwick (SF:TGY 212)
1932 -- "The Moon Era", by Jack Williamson (SF: TGY 1744)
1932 -- "Vanguard to Neptune", by J.M. Walsh (SF: TGY 1629)
1932 -- "Red Hands", August Derleth and Mark Schorer (GSF 530[i]): On a small island off the coast of India, a vine with leaves resembling human hands kills a murderous thief. Its enervating stings leave bloody red handprints on its victims. 
1932 -- "Red Flame of Venus", by P. Schuyler Miller (SF: TGY 1010)
1932 -- "Seed of the Toc-Toc Birds", by Francis Flagg (SF: TGY 430)
1932 -- "The Tree-Men of M'Bwa", by Donald Wandrei
1932 -- "In Martian Depths", by Henrik Dahl Juve (SF: TGY 700)
1933 -- "The Walk to Lingham", by Lord Dunsany (GSF 586[b])
1933 -- "Men of the Dark Comet", by Festus Pragnell (SF: TGY 1150)
1933 -- "Meshes of Doom", by Neville Kilvington (GSF 1765[e]): A botanist murders his wife, and is haunted with increasing intensity by both his guilt over her killing and the growth of an Amazonian creeper he has acquired. The creeper grows to tremendous size, strangles his dogs, and sprouts uncanny flowers resembling accusatory human faces. A note appended to the end of the story reveals that the creeper and the killing of the dogs were all products of the murderer's hallucinations. 
1933 -- "The Seed from the Sepulcher", by Clark Ashton Smith
1933 -- "The Mandrakes", by Clark Ashton Smith (GSF 1489[d]): Part of Smith's Averoigne series, this story of a married sorcerer and sorceress living in the 15th century features mandrake roots as the chief ingredient in the couple's powerful love potions. The sorcerer murders his wife one evening and buries her underneath a mandrake bed, only to discover next season that the mandrakes growing there have an especially uncanny resemblance to a female body -- her body. The love potions made from these roots causes murderous madness in those who consume them instead of affection, a turn of events that ends the civic toleration of the sorcerer in their midst.
1933 -- "The Demon of the Flower", by Clark Ashton Smith (GSF 1485[p]; SF: TGY 1374)
1933 -- "Flame-Worms of Yokku", by Hal K. Wells (SF: TGY 1682)
1933 -- "The Deadly Orchid", by T. T. Flynn
1933 -- "A Vision of Venus", by Otis Adelbert Kline (SF: TGY 802)
1933 -- "The Man Who Awoke", by Laurence Manning (SF: TGY 933)
1933 -- "The Light from Beyond", by Clark Ashton Smith (SF: TGY 1372)
1933 -- "A Race Through Time", by Donald Wandrei (SF: TGY 1632): Giant mushrooms inherit the earth.
1933 -- "Spheres of Hell" / "The Puff-Ball Menace", by John Wyndham [as by John Beynon Harris] (SF: TGY 601)
1933 -- "Farewell to Earth", by Donald Wandrei (SF: TGY 1633)
1933 -- "The Tree Terror", by David H. Keller (SF: TGY 766)
1933-4 -- "Evolution Satellite", by J. Harvey Haggard (SF: TGY 527)
1934 -- "The Spore Doom", by Eando Binder (SF:TGY 79)
1934 -- "A Visit to Venus", by Festus Pragnell (SF: TGY 1153)
1934 -- "The Exile of the Skies", by Richard Vaughan (SF: TGY 1524)
1934 -- "The Tree of Evil", by David H. Keller (SF: TGY 731)
1934 -- "Manna from Mars", by Stanton A. Coblentz (SF: TGY 249): The Martians offer the citizens of Earth the seeds of a miracle crop that will efficiently feed the world.
1934 -- "The Menace from Space", by John Edwards (SF: TGY 357): Venus bombards the Earth with seeds, which grow into moss that release a coma-inducing gas. The comas turn out to save humankind from a poisonous cloud of gas coming from elsewhere in space, and the mosses also solve the Earth's agricultural woes as a potent fertilizer.
1934 -- "The Death Plant", by Michael Gwynn: The supernatural plant sought in this tale has two flowers: a life bloom and a death bloom. Each plant somehow corresponds to the life of a individual human, and eventually the death bloom grows to strangle the life bloom and end the life of that person (if the life bloom is cut, the person also dies). A German explorer is convinced that he will obtain immortality if he kills his own death bloom, but his plan is ultimately foiled by the narrator, who had seen him test his hypothesis about the plant by murdering their servant via his life bloom. 
1934 -- "Moon Plague", by Raymond Z. Gallun (SF: TGY 457)
1934 -- "Cataclysm", by W.P. Cockroft (SF: TGY 262)
1934 -- "To-day's Yesterday", by Rice Ray (SF: TGY 1166)
1934 -- "The Screaming Plant", by Hal Pink (GSF 613[ff]): This story is based on a falsified version of the mandrake legend (for more on which see below), as the root is said to have had the "voracity of a carnivorous animal" and "reached out with its root-tentacles to seize unsuspecting herb-gatherers and crush them to death, gaining strength from their blood" (65 Great Tales of Horror 457). The narrator's botanist friend supposedly obtains this information from a 1433 Latin treatise anachronistically set in "crude type"; of course, in the medieval version of the legend, the mandrake would simply emit a fatal scream when uprooted, and was sought out for use in magic and ritual. The narrative also treats the mandrake as if it were a legendary plant not actually known to medieval people, rather than a real plant about which supernatural legends existed: this modification allows the botanist to grow a marvelous plant from a mandrake seed he has found: a human-sized, tentacled bloodsucker. The monstrous mandrake manages to hypnotize and drain the blood of the botanist's pet cat, upon which the two main characters destroy it: the plant does scream in its death agony, but the scream produces no harmful effects. Like several other stories from this time, this narrative also posits the monster plant as a possible intermediate form between unicellular life and Homo sapiens: "Why shouldn't the missing link between man and the sub-world be a plant?" (457).
1934 -- "The Cane", by Carl Jacobi (GSF 525[q])
1934 -- "Wild Grapes", by August Derleth (GSF 520[e]): A man plants wild grapevines above the secret grave of the uncle he has just murdered. He is later entrapped and strangled by the vines, one of which is discovered to have taken root firmly in the corpse of the uncle.
1934 -- "The Garden of Fear", by Robert E. Howard (SFW 673c)
1934 -- "Succubus", by K. F. Ziska (SF: TGY 1808): A brooding genius physician begins conducting secret experiments on the hybridization of plants and animals, inspired by an offhand simile made by a professor he used to loathe: "It is strange that events, apparently having no connection whatever, may yet be closely linked to each other. A professor's groping for a fitting simile led to -- so I hope -- a discovery of far-reaching importance. It was during my junior year at medical college. A professor in one of my classes endeavored to explain some point pertaining to parthenogenesis. He attempted to demonstrate the impossibility of transferring functions of certain species to other species. He finished his remarks with 'and this is as impossible as-as--' he groped for a fitting simile, concluding triumphantly, 'as fertilization between species of plant and animal life'" (36). The anxiety in this story seems more tied to genetic engineering, since the thinker whose work the physician's investigations are said to overturn is identified as Mendel rather than Darwin. The Frankenstein-figure only succeeds with his hybridization when he chooses to introduce a human element: "What would happen if I attempted fusion between a human spermatozoön and the ovule of a properly hybridized plant?" (37). The product of this fusion is an uncanny plant-woman, who eventually must be fed animal blood to thrive. Over time the plant-woman grows to be even taller than the professor, who yields to her amorous embraces. Horrified at his creation and his own obsession with her, he ultimately destroys the two of them.
1934 -- "A Martian Odyssey", by Stanley G. Weinbaum (SF: TGY 1662)
1934 -- "Valley of Dreams", by Stanley G. Weinbaum (SF: TGY 1663) 
1935 -- "Seeds from Space", by Laurence Manning (SF: TGY 943)
1935 -- "The Moaning Lily", by Emma Vanne (SF: TGY 1518)
1935 -- "The Lichen from Eros", by Frank Belknap Long (SF:TGY 895)
1935 -- "Proxima Centauri", by Murray Leinster (SF: TGY 853)
1935 -- "The Elixir of Progress", by Philip Jacques Bartel (SF: TGY 49): A tongue-in-cheek (?) far-future adventure in which the rediscovery of the coffee plant saves human civilization.
1935 -- The Perfect World, by Benson Herbert (SF: TGY 618)
1935 -- "The Thing in the Woods", by Fletcher Pratt and B. F. Ruby (SF: TGY 1159)
1935 -- "The Mad Moon", by Stanley G. Weinbaum (SF: TGY 1667)
1935 -- "The Kosso", by William F. Temple (GSF 1598[c]): An amateur botanist in Abyssinia has been experimenting with stimulating the development of a brain in a eucalyptus and a tree called the Kosso. These trees seem to have a heartbeat, and, when they are injected with a special formula, their appendages move like an octopus's tentacles. When the trees gain the power to walk, they turn on their creator; the Kosso is eventually destroyed by a fortuitous lightning strike. 
1935 -- "Fruit of the Moon-Weed", by J. Harvey Haggard (SF: TGY 534): Three explorers land on a satellite in search of the fabled Nirconian moon-weed. Since the moon has no wind and no animal life to facilitate pollination and seed dispersal, the native plants all have unique adaptations; for example, there are javelin trees that launch dangerous projectile seed-cases: "That's what I call asexual reproduction!"  (44). The titular moon-weed, however, instead uses an opioid that induces pleasurable hallucinations, although they turn fearsome for the narrator at the end. The narrator unwittingly sucks the nectar from one flower while hallucinating an embrace with a beautiful girl, and deposits it in another while hallucinating a forced kiss with a horrific female demon. Although an overdose of the narcotic can be fatal, the narrator is eventually rescued by a companion, after the work of fertilization is already complete. Described by Bleiler as "Strange eroticism in the guise of interplanetary exploration," with "A subtext that is more interesting than the surface narrative" (157-158).
1935 -- "The Flower-Women", by Clark Ashton Smith (GSF 1485[o])
1935 -- "Parasite Planet", by Stanley G. Weinbaum (SF: TGY 1659)
1935 -- "The Lotus Eaters", by Stanley G. Weinbaum (SF: TGY 1660)
1935 -- "Flight on Titan", by Stanley G. Weinbaum (SF: TGY 1664)
1936 -- "The Devil-Plant", by Malcolm Ellison
1936 -- "The Tree of Life", by C. L. Moore (GSF 1191[f])
1936 -- "A Little Green Stone", by J. Harvey Haggard (SF: TGY 537): The vegetation on an alien world utilizes "cosmosynthesis," an alternative to photosynthesis based on cosmic radiation.
1936 -- "Devolution", by Edmond Hamilton (SF: TGY 571)
1936 -- "The Glowworm Flower", by Stanton A. Coblentz (SF:TGY 261)
1936 -- "Nightmare Island", by Douglas Drew (SF: TGY 347)
1936 -- "Saprophyte Men of Venus", by Nat Schachner (SF: TGY 1271)
1937 -- "Mr. Sycamore", by Robert Ayre (GSF 313[d]): John Gwilt, a postal worker "tired of locomotion" decides to turn himself into a tree by means of Will Power (89). Gwilt alludes to similar happenings in ancient Greece, and is convinced his plan will succeed, even though he makes no progress towards his goal until the end of the story. The narrative has something of a magic realist feel, in that Gwilt's project is not immediately and universally declared insane, but accepted as a mere improbability among most. At one point, Gwilt has a vision of revenge upon his doubters in which he poisons them all like the terrible Upas Tree, but decides that these feelings come from "the man in [him]," and that trees are beyond such petty anger. Against all odds, this story was adapted as both a musical (1942) and a film (1975).
1937 -- "The Lake of Life", by Edmond Hamilton (SF: TGY 1412)
1937 -- "The Seeds from Outside", by Edmond Hamilton: A self-exiled nature artist discovers a meteorite near his cottage (cf. "The Gas-Weed," 1929, above), which contains two seeds that grow into humanoid plants about six feet in height. One is male, the other female, and the latter falls in love with the painter. When the jealous male grows to the point where he can move free of the ground, he kills the female, and is then killed in turn by the painter.
1939 -- "Orchid Death", by Hubert Roussel: Despite this opening editorial description -- "Deep in that fetid, steaming jungle it bloomed. A shimmering, fabulous flower, priceless beyond compare. But its fragile petals held death -- slow, grim, awful death!" (47) -- the flower in the story is not a fantastic plant, and the story itself is not exactly speculative genre fiction, unless "Jungle Stories," the name of its place of publication, is considered a genre unto itself. An orchidologist in pursuit of "the orchid for which he had been searching all his life!", "The ravishing quintessence of all Nature's handiwork" (49) runs afoul of some Papuan cannibals, and only by indirectly imperiling his life at their hands does the titular orchid become death-bearing.
1939 -- "The War of the Weeds", by Carl Jacobi: Mysterious seeds arrive from space in a metal capsule. When planted, they grow into large stalks that produce the effect of an Aeolian harp, making music when wind passes through them. An "organ recital" is scheduled, but it turns out that the sounds carry with them a botanical energy "insufferable to the human brain" (44). A fascist "Middle European" state attempts to use the plants as a weapon to conquer the world, and a plague of madness and death follows their efforts to sow them around the world. Scientists speculate that the seeds were sent by alien race to clear out the human population before colonization of the Earth, and they eventually land upon a technological solution to neutralize the plants and their insidious sonic powers.
1939 -- "Changeling", by Manly Wade Wellman: A young girl -- the titular changeling -- seems to be an emissary from some sort of fairy (or plant?) kingdom, and she murders primarily by means of exotic flowers distributed to the other townsfolk; whatever it is that she communes with "prosper[s] only when men die." Boiling water is sufficient to destroy the changeling (and somehow returns the original infant swapped out for it years prior), and the changeling's fatal garden withers as well.
1941 -- "Plants Must Grow", by Frank Belknap Long: One of the adventures of John Carstairs, botanical detective. Carstairs is a professional botanist and curator of the prestigious Interplanetary Botanical Gardens, but he moonlights as a detective who specializes in both defeating deadly mobile plants and, more commonly, solving crimes or apprehending criminals by means of the rare and unusual plant specimens he has gathered.
1941 -- "Snapdragon", by Frank Belknap Long: One of the adventures of John Carstairs, botanical detective.
1942 -- "Plants Must Slay", by Frank Belknap Long: One of the adventures of John Carstairs, botanical detective.
1942 -- "Satellite of Peril", by Frank Belknap Long: One of the adventures of John Carstairs, botanical detective.
1942 -- "The Ether Robots", by Frank Belknap Long: One of the adventures of John Carstairs, botanical detective: "John Carstairs, Curator of Interplanetary Gardens, Plunges into Scientific Spatial Battle to Save All Humanity from a Mad Genius Who Craves Power!" (15). It turns out that a handful of spores from a "fast-growing radiant flame fungi from Europa" is sufficient to destroy the energy-based robots of the story's title (38); after the spores finish feeding and growing, the flowers atop their stalks resemble the faces of the ones on which they fed. Finally, in order to defeat the evil genius who had controlled those robots, Carstairs employs a grenade-like plant from Japetus.
1942 -- "Step Into My Garden", by Frank Belknap Long: One of the adventures of John Carstairs, botanical detective.
1943 -- "Wobblies in the Moon", by Frank Belknap Long: One of the adventures of John Carstairs, botanical detective.
1943 -- "The Heavy Man", by Frank Belknap Long: One of the adventures of John Carstairs, botanical detective: "When a·Mysterious Voice Threatens from Trackless Ether, Botanical Wizard John Carstairs, Armed with Neptunian Lichens, Goes Forth to Fight!" (94). Among the rare plants to appear in the story are the "Saturnian vertigo lily," which induces dizziness by playing on the inner ear; a "spectroscopic lichen" used to detect the source of a destructive atomic field; and algae that feed on radioactive atoms.
1943 -- Fungi from Yoggoth, by H.P. Lovecraft: This posthumously-published sonnet sequence arranges several of Lovecraft's previously published sonnets, but a central narrative thread is not readily apparent. The sestet of sonnet XIV, "Star-Winds," most clearly references the fungal denizens of Yuggoth and other unearthly plants: "This is the hour when moonstruck poets know / What fungi sprout in Yuggoth, and what scents / And tints of flowers fill Nithon's continents, / Such as in no poor earthly garden blow. / Yet for each dream these winds to us convey, / A dozen more of ours they sweep away!"
1945 -- "The Hollow World", by Frank Belknap Long: One of the adventures of John Carstairs, botanical detective.
1946 -- "The Plants", by Murray Leinster
1947 -- Greener Than You Think, by Ward Moore
1947 -- "Fatal Oak", by M.P. Dare (GSF 470[e]): The wood from the gibbet of a hanged murderer preserves the man's spirit within it, and carries a powerful curse: any sufficiently evil person who touches an object made out of the oak will die instantly (the items featured in the story are an antique chair and a tobacco container). An author's note indicates that the story originates in a real local legend.
1947 -- "The Orchid Death", by Alexander Wallace: A safari enters the African interior and discovers a native sorceress presiding over a cult that worships a gigantic orchid. Beautiful young woman are sacrificed to the monster plant, and, when the flower is finally destroyed, it seems to spurt red blood.
1949 -- "Come Into My Parlor", by Manly Wade Wellman
1949 -- "The Gardener", by Margaret St. Clair
1949 -- "The Fountain", by Frank Owen (GSF 1270[i]): Long ago, a sculptor's bride-to-be, compared to a flower in life and in death, had died from neglect when he put all of his energies into a sculpture. After her death, the statue allegedly weeps warm tears onto her grave, from which sprouts a single iris. A visitor to the garden plucks the iris, which causes it to spurt human blood; the body of a dead young woman is discovered on the spot the next day. 
1949 -- John Carstairs: Space Detective, by Frank Belknap Long: A fixup constructed from several earlier "John Carstairs" stories, including these episodes: "Plants Must Grow" (1941); "Plants Must Slay" (1942); "Snapdragon" (1941); "Satellite of Peril" (1942); "Wobblies in the Moon" (1943); "The Hollow World" (1945). 
1950 -- "The Tree's Wife", by Mary Elizabeth Counselman
1951 -- "The White Fruit of Banaldar", by John D. MacDonald 
1951 -- The Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham
1951 -- Son of the Tree, by Jack Vance: On the planet Kyril, an overclass of "Druids" maintains power over a much larger lay underclass. Their society worships a gigantic tree miles in height, which, as it turns out, carnivorously feeds on the Laity. The plot of the novel revolves around intrigues to bring the titular "Son of the Tree," a seedling of the great "Tree of Life," to another world -- "A tremendous lot of excitement for a vegetable". Once planted, the seedling grows extremely rapidly, consuming several human attackers and proving immune to most forms of assault (except weed-killer).  
1953 -- "Strange Harvest", by Donald Wandrei
1953 -- "Root of Evil", by Edward Wellen
1954 -- "Daisies", by Fredric Brown
1954 -- "Green Thumb", by Clifford D. Simak
1956 -- The Death of Grass / No Blade of Grass, by John Christopher
1958 -- "Eripmav", by Damon Knight
1958 -- "Growth of Lichen", by Clark Ashton Smith: Like Smith's other poem on the composite organism, 1971's "Lichens," below, this three-line poem positions lichen as a window into deep time: "Over the rock the lichen / Stars the way whereon / Ten thousand suns have gone."
1961/2 -- Hothouse / The Long Afternoon of Earth, by Brian W. Aldiss 
1962 -- "Come Into My Cellar", by Ray Bradbury
1963 -- "Dr. Adams' Garden of Evil", by Fritz Leiber
1966 -- The Evil Garden, by Edward Gorey: In characteristically macabre Gorey style, this children's book chronicles the misadventures of a group of visitors to a threatening garden, complete with monstrous plants. 
1967 -- "The Vine", by Kit Reed
1968 -- "The Fangs of the Trees", by Robert Silverberg 
1969 -- "Cordle to Onion to Carrot", by Robert Sheckley
1969 -- The Pollinators of Eden, by John Boyd
1970 -- "Seed Stock", by Frank Herbert
1971 -- "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow", by Ursula K. Le Guin
1971 -- "Lichens", by Clark Ashton Smith: The speaker of this posthumously (?) published poem sees lichen on a rock as a window into deep time -- "Old too they seem and with the stones coeval -- / Fraught with the stillness and the mystery / Of time not known to man" -- and finally comparable only to unreadable runes with a meaning and significance that exists independently of humanity's ability to comprehend them: "Like runes and pentacles of a primeval / Unhuman wizardry / That none may use nor scan."
1973 -- Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?, by Dr. Seuss: A sanitized version of the carnivorous monster plant appears as one of the perils in this popular children's book: "And suppose that you lived / In that forest in France / Where the average young person / Just hasn't a chance / To escape from the perilous / Pants eating plants!"
1974 -- Paul Bunyan Fights the Monster Plants, by Wyatt Blassingame
1976 -- The Plants, by Kenneth McKenney 
1976 -- "Weeds", by Stephen King
1986 -- "Pumpkin", by Bill Pronzini
1987 -- "Mandrake", by Kelvin I. Jones: A mandrake plant discovered in a modern garden haunts the man who plucks it with nightmares, and eventually brings about his death. Although this mandrake does not instantly kill the one who harvests it, the story subtly registers the familiar details of the legend: "At last the root gave, and he fell backwards. There was a sound, something like a cry of pain. He stood up, looked about, but there was no one in the overgrown garden save himself" (171).
1986 -- Attack of the Monster Plants, by Susan Saunders: Choose Your Own Adventure #34
1990 -- "Night Bloomer", by David J. Schow
1994 -- "Flowering Mandrake", by George Turner: Forty-seven light-years from Earth, a race of sentient plants battles another "red-blooded" humanoid race. Some castes of the "Root-kin" are fully ambulatory while others are not, and they use largely organic technology, including plant-based spaceships and computers. These plants are able to enter a dormant spore state and survive for  1994 -- "The Weeds", by Perry Brass: Set in a slightly Lovecraftian version of the popular gay resort of Provincetown, Massachusetts, this piece of gay fiction tells the story of an affair that ends badly. Fantastical and/or metaphorical weeds on the shore attack the protagonist with a sucking ooze, which seems to contain the bodies of all the friends and lovers he has lost to AIDS.
1995 -- "Get With Child a Mandrake Root", by K. Kimberly Prosser and Lisa Swope: A fantasy buddy comedy in which a long-suffering raven helps an inept, mandrake-born homunculus named Nightshade use another mandrake root to create a companion for himself.
1996 -- "The Screaming of the Trees", by Don Wulffson: A girl's father had invented a substance called "Xylem 40," a chemical intended to double the yield of lumber harvests. Unfortunately, the widespread use of the compound has rather undesirable unintended consequences: the trees produce an audible sound when growing, the eponymous screaming, which becomes even more closely connected with a sense of horror since the trees spread uncontrollably across the country, and tend to collapse and kill due to the action of the chemical (which makes them hollow and too tall for their roots).
2001 -- The Night of the Triffids, by Simon Clark
2001 -- Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
2006 -- The Ruins, by Scott Smith
2006 -- The Last Green Tree, by Jim Grimsley
2011 -- The Highest Frontier, by Joan Slonczewski
2013 -- Transcendental, by James Gunn

Plants in Film and Television

1951 -- The Thing from Another World, dir. Christian Nyby
1956 -- Invasion of the Body Snatchers, dir. Don Siegel
1958 -- The Woman Eater, dir. Charles Saunders
1960 -- The Little Shop of Horrors, dir. Roger Corman
1962 -- The Day of the Triffids, dir. Steve Sekely
1968 -- The Lost Continent, dir. Michael Carreras
1977 -- Adéla ještě nevečeřela [Dinner for Adele / Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet], dir. Oldřich Lipský
1978 -- Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, dir. John De Bello
1981 -- The Evil Dead, dir. Sam Raimi: Contains a controversial rape scene in which a young woman alone in the woods is restrained by sentient vines and penetrated by a large tree branch. The 1987 sequel, Evil Dead 2, also features possessed violent trees, and the 2013 remake by Fede Alvarez includes a somewhat less graphic version of the infamous rape scene.
1982 -- "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill," a short film from the horror anthology Creepshow, dir. George A. Romero (based on Stephen King's 1976 short story "Weeds," and starring King as well)
1986 -- Little Shop of Horrors, dir. Frank Oz
1988 -- Return of the Killer Tomatoes!, dir. John De Bello
1990 -- Killer Tomatoes Strike Back!, dir. John De Bello
1990 -- The Guardian, dir. William Friedkin: A supernatural horror film with opening titles that invoke the alleged human sacrifice to trees practiced by ancient druids. In the present, a nanny plots to abduct an infant to sacrifice to a killer tree. The nanny is later revealed to have a supernatural connection with the tree, dryad-like, and, when the tree is cut down, it spurts human blood and the nanny dies with it. The faces of previously sacrificed infants appear as knots on the tree's surface. Cf. the human sacrifice by "Druids" in Jack Vance's 1951 novel Son of the Tree.
1991 -- Killer Tomatoes Eat France!, dir. John De Bello
1993 -- Troll 3: Contamination Point 7 (The Crawlers), dir. Joe D'Amato and Fabrizio Laurenti: In this Z-movie, nuclear waste changes the roots of a small town's trees into murderous stranglers. Several people are killed by the roots before the EPA arrives to bulldoze the area. 
2000 -- Otesánek [Little Otik], dir. Jan Švankmajer: Based on a Czech folktale. Spastic movement and insatiable hunger of a newborn.
2006 -- The Fountain, dir. Darren Aronofsky
2008 -- The Ruins, dir. Carter Smith
2008 -- The Happening, dir. M. Night Shyamalan: The world's plants appear to be emitting a neurotoxin that drives large groups of people to commit suicide. A plant afficionado speculates that the plants are attempting to clean off human parasites from the earth, much in the same way that a tobacco plant can emit a signal to wasps to help rid it of a caterpillar infestation. 
2012 -- Life of Pi, dir. Ang Lee

Useful Anthologies of Botanical Fiction

1976 -- Roots of Evil: Beyond the Secret Life of Plants, ed. Carlos Cassaba
1976 -- Nightmare Garden, ed. Vic Ghidalia
1998 -- Dangerous Vegetables, ed. Keith Laumer, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh
2008 -- Flora Curiosa: Cryptobotany, Mysterious Fungi, Sentient Trees, and Deadly Plants in Classic Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. Chad Arment
2010 -- Botanica Delira: More Stories of Strange, Undiscovered, and Murderous Vegetation, ed. Chad Arment

Selected Botanical Non-fiction and "Non-fiction"

1748 -- L'homme plante [Man as Plant / Man a Plant], by Julien Offray de La Mettrie
1789 -- The Loves of the Plants, by Erasmus Darwin
1875 -- Insectivorous Plants, by Charles Darwin
1880 -- The Power of Movement in Plants, by Charles Darwin (with the assistance of Francis Darwin)
1924 -- Madagascar, Land of the Man-Eating Tree, by Chase S. Osborn: Only the first chapter of this book discusses the legend of the Man-Eating Tree, and the remainder of the book is a more routine guide to Madagascar. Although Osborn claims to have received independent verification from the natives, the only source for his account of the monster plant seems to be the spurious 1874 "Crinoida Dajeeana" story, above.
1973 -- The Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird
2003 -- The Beasts That Hide from Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals, by Karl Shuker 

See also this short Critical Bibliography.

Marvelous Plants in Folklore and Myth

-The Mandrake
-The Waq-Waq Tree
-The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary
-The Green Man
-The Barnacle Goose / The Barnacle Tree
-The Upas Tree: The exaggerated legends about this tree, which kills anything that approaches it with clouds of toxic vapors, are based on a real but far less poisonous tree called the "upas" in Javanese, Antiaris toxicaria.
-The Dry Tree / The Solitary Tree-The Tree of Life; the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; the World-Tree, etc.
-Daphne and Other Metamorphosed Plants
          -For Daphne and Apollo, see Ovid, Metamorphoses I.452-547 (former transformed into the laurel)
          -For Syrinx and Pan, see Ovid, Metamorphoses I.691-712 (former transformed into reeds)
          -For Myrrha, see Ovid, Metamorphoses X.317-476 (transformed into the myrrh tree)
          -For Narcissus, see Ovid, Metamorphoses III.346-413 (transformed into the narcissus)
          -For Pitys and Pan, see Nonnus' Dionysiaca II.108 ff. (former transformed into pine tree)
          -For Ambrosia and Lycurgus, see Nonnus' Dionysiaca XXI.17-169 (former transformed into a vine which attacks the                latter) 
          -For even more young women turned into trees, this time by Boreas, see the Greek collection of wonders 
          Paradoxographus Vaticanus 15 (~2nd century A.D.): "In a certain area of Mt. Olympus there are trees similar to the 
          thin-leafed willow, which they say were once girls. They were turned into trees while fleeing from the North Wind,                 who was in love with them. Still today if anyone touches their leaves, they say that the wind becomes angry and at                 once blows violently and scarcely stops after two days" (trans. Jacob Stern).
-Lucian of Samosata's Vine-women (SF: TEY 1377[a]): An early episode in Lucian's satire involves an encounter with hybrid plant-women who, in striking contrast to Daphne's fate, themselves pursue men and transform them into plants as well: "Next, after crossing the river at a place where it was fordable, we found something wonderful in grapevines. The part which came out of the ground, the trunk itself, was stout and well-grown, but the upper part was in each case a woman, entirely perfect from the waist up. They were like our pictures of Daphne turning into a tree when Apollo is just catching her. Out of their finger-tips grew the branches, and they were full of grapes. Actually, the hair of their heads was tendrils and leaves and clusters! When we came up, they welcomed and greeted us, some of them speaking Lydian, some Indian, but the most part Greek. They even kissed us on the lips, and everyone that was kissed at once became reeling drunk. They did not suffer us, however, to gather any of the fruit, but cried out in pain when it was plucked. Some of them actually wanted us to embrace them, and two of my comrades complied, but could not get away again. They were held fast by the part which had touched them, for it had grown in and struck root. Already branches had grown from their fingers, tendrils entwined them, and they were on the point of bearing fruit like the others any minute."

Carnivorous and "Animalistic" Plants

Because of their unusual characteristics, the following real plants are often used as points of reference and comparison in botanical fiction:

-Dionaea muscipula, the Venus Flytrap
-Drosera, the sundews
-Nepenthes, the tropical pitcher plants
-Sarracenia, the North American pitcher plants
-Mimosa pudica, the sensitive plant (the model organism for rapid plant movement, but far from the only species to exhibit this phenomenon)
-Puya chilensis, the so-called "sheep-eating plant" sometimes believed to be hazardous to larger animals that entangle themselves in its spines

Summary Bibliography: Charles Willard Diffin

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  • Author: Charles Willard Diffin Author Record # 1762
  • Legal Name: Diffin, Charles Willard
  • Birthplace: Meadville, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Birthdate: 25 March 1884
  • Deathdate: 15 May 1966
  • Language: English
  • Webpages:ebooksread.com, LibraryThing, SFE3
  • Used These Alternate Names:Charles W. Diffin, C. D. Willard
  • Author Tags:Librivox (6), telepathy (2), suspended animation (2), moon (2), apemen (1), carnivororous plants (1), telepathic hypnotics (1), giant brain sacks (1), paralysis ray (1), Jupiter humanoids (1), antigravity (1), venus (1), crystal cities (1), true humans (1), force screen (1), Venusian humans (1), rat men (1), mechanical thought reading (1), homoids (1), space amoebas (1) and 25 additional tags. View all tags for Charles Willard Diffin

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