D&D General Plants (and Fungi) that should be in your D&D Campaign!

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I was walking in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens today and came upon a Mexican Hand Tree. It was blooming, and the flower (with pistil and stamen) looks like this:

PXL_20220428_192108384.PORTRAIT.jpg

(Photo Credit: me)

It was windy today, and the pistil and stamens were dropping off and littering the ground. I took one home:

PXL_20220428_200645327.PORTRAIT_2.jpg

(Photo Credit: me)

If the botanists who named this tree were D&D players, they definitely would have called it a Crawling Claw tree! How cool would this be in a D&D campaign, trees that drop little claws that swarm and attack, maybe dragging back corpses to better fertilize the tree?

...

A while back, I saw one of these growing near my classroom:

1651176763126.png

(Photo Credit: wikimedia)

It's called a Latticed Stinkhorn or Red Cage. It's a very cool fungus. It starts as a white egg-like thing, then erupts into this cage structure:

1651176824837.png

(Photo Credit: bayareamushrooms.org)

Imagine huge versions of these! They could explode upwards, trapping a character. Or myconids could use them as cages. Or what if they go in reverse, when something steps into the cage it crushes them back down and turns into a hard egg?

What other plants, fungi, or plant-like things make for obvious D&D encounters?
 

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Lakesidefantasy

Adventurer
I saw a crawling cactus at the Cal State Botanical Gardens in Berkeley. Also known as a creeping devil, this columnar cactus "crawls" across the desert floor by growing at one end while dying at the other end. In real life this happens at the pace of plant growth but I see no reason we couldn't make it faster and more vampiric.
 



Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
There were a few good system neutral articles providing plants in old Dragon magazines:
  • "Wounds and Weeds" by Kevin J. Anderson (#82) gave some healing rules and descriptions of twelve real-world herbs: Aaron's rod, adder's-tongue, birthwort, comfrey, garlic, henbane, herb true-love, juniper berry, marsh-mallow, St.-John's-wort, sphagnum moss, and woundwort.
  • "The Legacy of Hortus" by Jack Crane (#87) provided descriptions of fifteen fanciful animal-plant hybrids: beebalm, butterfly flowers, catnip, cobra orchids, cowslips, dandelions, foxglove, horehound, lambs ear, parrot tulips, smartweed, snake vine, snap dragons, tiger lilies, and wormwood.
  • "The Plants of Biurndon" by Eric W. Pass (#108) gives descriptions of thirteen trees and herbs from the author's home campaign: sticktree, rivertree, papertree, medicinetree, redtree, natertree, lenthal, graveolens, boneset, redoil, angelica, blue tonic, and felamour.
  • "The Ecology of Carnivorous Plants" by Gregg Chamberlain (#137) covers carnivorous plants in both the real world and in gaming; he doesn't provide any new plants, but discusses the carnivorous plants in various AD&D books.
  • "The Dragon's Bestiary" by Gregg Chamberlain (#167) has AD&D stats for eight monstrous plants: giant bladderwort, giant butterwort, giant rainbow plant, giant waterwheel plant, swordgrass, clubfern, bloodflower, and hellborn.
  • "The Dragon's Bestiary: Bad Seeds" by Ed Bonny, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter (#292) has seven plant/fungus monsters: death’s head tree, greenvise, myconid, needleman, orcwort, wortling, and red sundew.
  • "Arcane Botanica" by Noel Scott (#357) talks about twelve new magical plants: djinn blossoms, nahre lotus, orevine, salamander orchids, aelfengrape, coldwood, fey cherry, flame clove, glowvine, lakeleaf, lichbriar, and tahtoalehti (aka, wishfern).
Aside from the ones that are based on just awful puns, there are some cool ideas in there!
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Kobold Quarterly #6 (affiliate link) has a really cool "Ecology of the Phantom Fungus" article, which not only lists several new fungal creatures that are related to the titular creature, but also describes their life-cycle, and how they're related to the most infamous fungus monster of them all: the mi-go!
 





aco175

Legend
Does this prove the theory that everything in nature is trying to kill you. I do like the idea of a crawling claw tree. Wasn't there a hangman's tree someplace.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I saw a crawling cactus at the Cal State Botanical Gardens in Berkeley. Also known as a creeping devil, this columnar cactus "crawls" across the desert floor by growing at one end while dying at the other end. In real life this happens at the pace of plant growth but I see no reason we couldn't make it faster and more vampiric.
I loooooove the idea of a cactus snake!
 

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