“Tough Traveling” is a weekly Thursday feature created by Nathan at Review Barn where participants make a new list each week based on The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. This hilarious little book cheerfully pokes fun at the most prevalent tropes in fantasy. All are welcome to take part, and there is a link up over at his site. Join in any time!
This week’s trope is UNIQUE FLORA:
Self-explanatory. If you know of a plant that is either not on earth, or doesn’t act the same way in fantasyland as it does on earth, then you can consider it unique. Have fun.
Not gonna lie folks, this week’s trope was difficult for me. I’m sure that there are bizarre plants in lots of UF novels, but I couldn’t think of any for the life of me! Here’s what I could come up with:
|Death Lilies – Healer series by Maria V. Snyder
Death Lilies are firmly in the “not of this earth” category of flora – and we should all thank our lucky stars for that. What’s a death lily, you ask? Picture a giant calla lily with a tendency to swallow people alive, slowly poisoning them. And as with most fantasy poisons, there’s no cure. Until maybe there is…dun dun dun!
| Droughtwort – Emelan Universe books by Tamora Pierce
Droughtwort is an herb used as a method of contraception in Tamora Pierce’s Emelan universe: the herb causes any man who ingests it to become temporarily sterile. One of the best things about Pierce’s romance plotlines or instances of casual sex in her books is her commitment to realism. She doesn’t skip contraception just because it’s “awkward” to talk about. More YA books should include it, imho.
|Dragonsbane – Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Another one for the distinctly unearthly plants category, dragonsbane is exactly what it sounds like. The dragonsbane plant is extremely harmful to dragons and can cause sickness or, if the concoction is potent enough, can be fatal. Used primarily by the arch-nemeses of the dragons, the conniving wizards.
| The Enchanted Rose – Beauty and the Beast
So, not a book but go with it anyway because it’s iconic! When the Beast was a human man, an enchantress gave him this rose, which would bloom until he turned 21. After that, a petal would fall each year; if the last petal fell and he still hadn’t found love, he would remain a beast forever…I’ll be interested to see if the “enchanted flower” makes it into any of the B & the B retellings coming out this year.