April 13, 2024

Magical Botany N

         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 more about the A to Z Challenge here
        Twelve Nariphon trees grow in the ancient kingdom of Sivi, where they were planted by Indra.  Their magical trait is that their fruit grows in the shape of beautiful maidens, who are attached at the crown of the head and emerge feet first from the buds.  These Nariphon maidens are just like human women except in having no bones.  They can sing and dance, and also possess some other magical and medicinal powers.  Each fruit lasts for seven days before it withers, but if picked, the Nariphon maiden can be taken home by the lustful.  The purpose of the trees is to protect real women from lustful men, by providing a distraction and substitute.  Divine blow-up porn dolls for a good cause.
        We travel next into the center of the Earth to find the tree people of Nazar.  Nazar is a planet that orbits around the bright core of Earth, which is otherwise completely hollow inside.  The tree people of Nazar have up to six arms, but very short legs.  They are intelligent and highly civilized, including a belief in the equality of the sexes.  Like ents, they believe things should be thought through slowly, and distrust jumping to conclusions and learning too quickly.  Nazar and its sensible trees were discovered by Norwegian scholar Niels Klim in the eighteenth century.  You can read a little more about it, with a few more pictures, in my previous post on Intelligent Underground Trees.
        Nefertem is the ancient Egyptian god of the first sunlight, famous for his beauty, and he gives good luck to those who honor him.  What is he doing here in my alphabet of botany?  Well, he was born a blue lotus flower, which grew from the primal waters at the creation of the world.  Alas for my purposes, he doesn’t seem to retain any other botanical qualities beyond the flower’s fragrance.
        The moral of N is that apparently the line between plant and human can become very blurred.  Plants can easily turn human, or can simply be more advanced than humans to begin with.  Gardening tip of the day: the plants may be unimpressed by your claims of moral virtue because you’re vegetarian!
        What plant do you think might be the most intelligent?

[Pictures: Nariphon tree, illustration from Kitāb al-Bulhān (Book of Wonders), ca. 1330-1450 (Image from Bodleian Library);

 Nariphon I, acrylic and gold leaf on silk by Phaptawan Suwannakudt, 1996 (Image from National Gallery Singapore);

Two scenes of the trees-citizens of Nazar, engravings from Niels Klim’s Journey Under the Ground, 1845 edition (Images from Internet Archive);

Two scenes of tree people, block prints(?) by Hans Scherfig from Niels Klims underjordiske rejse, 1961 (Images from Rundt om Holborg);

Nefertem, detail of Kheker frieze, tomb of Rameses I, ca. 1300BCE (Image from Theban Mapping Project).]


Kristin said...

I fell sorry for the tree women with no bones taken home by the lustful. Sounds like a bad idea all around.

Erin Penn said...

Most intelligent plant - would mushroom count? The underground network carrying all the information of the forest around. Pretty slick stuff there. I guess anchor trees / mother trees that direct the other trees around them (including some of different species) to share nutrients is a similar task.

Anonymous said...

Someone had a very imaginary mind to have thought up the women with no bones. Interesting read

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Kristin, I agree that it's not fair for the Nariphon maidens - unless they really are just fruit and don't care at all.

Erin, the things scientists are learning about mycorrhizal networks definitely puts them in the running for most intelligent. So cool!

Thanks for stopping by, Anonymous! =)

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Wow. Clearly there's a thin line between plant and human here.

Ronel visiting for N: My Languishing TBR: N