March 29, 2024

Magical Botany D

         Welcome to the April A to Z Blog Challenge!  My theme this year is the Botany of the Realms of Imagination, in which I share a selection of the magical plants of folklore, fairy tale, and fantasy.  You can find out all about the #AtoZChallenge here, if you're curious to learn what this whole April Blog Challenge thing is all about.  In the meantime, I've got the letter D to share.
        Despite not growing on Earth, today’s first plant is a very ancient discovery.  Around the middle of the second century CE a Roman by the name of Lucian of Samosata travelled to the moon, where he discovered all manner of strange alien life forms.  Among them were botanical creatures including Salad-wings (which are huge birds that are shaggy all over like grass and have wings like lettuce leaves), and, in honor of the letter D, Dog-acorns.  Actually, the dog part of the name refers to the dog-faced people who ride on the winged acorns, which are the actual plants.  At any rate, these cavalry were part of a force from Sirius, who had come to fight for the Sun in a battle against the Moon.  If you want to learn more about Lucian’s adventures, you can read my prior post about the tale: A True Story.
        The next marvelous journey we’ll join took place in 1681, when Lady Elizabeth Hurnshaw was lost at sea and eventually arrived at Amarantos, an island which descended from Atlantis.  As a botanist, Elizabeth made copious illustrations of the remarkable plant life she found there, and today I have for you the D plants Dragon Vine and Dillcorn.  The seeds of the dragon vine are crushed and made into a magical potion which allows anyone who drinks it to see the invisible dragons 
that inhabit the island.  I don’t know what properties the dillcorn may have, but it’s ce
rtainly a charming plant.  (We’ll be seeing a few more plants from Amarantos later in the alphabet.)
        Today’s final adventure is much better known, as we’re heading to the gardens of the Wizarding World to harvest dirigible plums.  These orange radish-shaped fruits float upward on their stalks instead of hanging down, and they may be used to enhance the ability to accept the extraordinary.  They are sometimes used as ornaments in jewelry, such as earrings and the diadem of Ravenclaw.  They’re also edible, and are especially popular when pickled.
        For a few bonus magical D plants, you can also take a quick glance at the devouring gourd in my previous post S is for Sentience, or download a coloring page of my own botanical dragon, the Dracophytum folium.
        The moral of today’s selection of plants is that botany is far more wild and adventuresome than most people seem to realize!  Gardening tip of the day: never leave your door without a pencil and notebook in hand, so that you can record in scientific detail the marvelous discoveries you may make.
        What’s the most adventuresome place you’ve ever been — and did you notice any special plant life while there?

[Pictures: Dog-acorn, based on rubber block prints by AEGN (Images from Nydam Prints);

Dragon Vine and Dillcorn, illustrations from Amarant by Una Woodruff, 1981;

Dirigible Plum detail from Bewildering Blooms, illustration from Harry Potter: Magic Awakened (Image from Fandom);

Dracophytum Folium, rubber block print by AEGNydam, 2020 (Image from Nydam Prints, but originals sold out).]


Anne Young said...

A terrifically diverse range of plants. I like you have your own plant to inspire you (the Venus fly trap)

I look forward to learning more botany during April

Thanks for visiting my blog

Frewin55 said...


Marina said...

This is so cool!!! I love the acorn..

Idea-ist said...

I love the story of dragonvine, must be scary lost on an island with invisible dragons, i don't know if seeing them makes it better or worse. Idea-ist@GetLostInLit

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Anne, yes, the Venus fly trap sits on the windowsill beside me as a write! =)
Marina, I'm glad you enjoy the acorn - I was pretty pleased with myself making that illustration.
Idea-ist, that's a good question whether it's scarier to see the dragons or not to see them. I suppose it might depend on how they interact with people.
Frewin, thanks for stopping by, as always!

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Dragon Vine sounds interesting.

Ronel visiting for D: My Languishing TBR: D

15 Minute Classics said...

Popping over for AtoZ

The Dog-acorn is a cool spec-fic worldbuilding idea! Float across the ocean, to the moon, across the realms, etc. on your acorn, then plant it to start terraforming, colonizing, whatever.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

15 Minute Classics, I love that idea! In the original story (being Roman) all anyone ever did was battle! lol I like your take much better.