Tough Travelling“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:

Touch of PowerDeath 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!

 The Will of the Empress by Tamora PierceDroughtwort – 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.

Dealing with DragonsDragonsbane – 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.

 P14The 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.


  1. Awww the B&B rose 🙂 Yeah I’m curious about the Emma Watson version of this, too. So many “retellings” coming out these days, only they’re usually not so innovative 🙁
    Huh, a male contraceptive? That’s cool, it’s mostly girls you see drinking “special teas” or something in fantasy (I remember seeing that in Throne of Glass, which also mentions Celaena getting her period).

      • Laura @ Half-Strung Harp

      • 7 years ago

      I was about to say something similar about the convenient ‘herbal teas’. I wish we had Droughtwort in real life so it wasn’t always the responsibility of us ladies!

      Great list Danya. I really need to try Tamora Pierce at some point this decade. 🙂

    • Bob Milne

    • 7 years ago

    Dragonsbane and the Enchanted Rose – nice picks!

  2. Awwww, Beauty and the Beast! Great idea! I wasn’t even thinking of movies when I was trying to come up with examples. And I love that idea of a contraceptive for MEN. Score one for the ladies!

  3. I haven’t read anything in the Emelan universe, but now I really want to… since, like all the other ladies here it seems, I love the idea of male contraceptive. Go Tamora Pierce!

    • Lynn Williams

    • 7 years ago

    OMG – Beauty and the Beast – that is it!! Call off the dogs we have a winner. That is my favourite fairytale and film!
    Lynn 😀

  4. I agree that the B&B rose is a perfect addition. I also didn’t really think about plants used for magical medicine outside of the HP Mandrakes, and that was because they were little people.

  5. Oh, my oldest and I were just watching Beauty and the Beast recently, so it’s fresh on my mind.

    No one’s slick as Gaston,
    No one’s quick as Gaston,
    No one’s neck’s as incredibly thick as Gaston’s!

    LOL, sorry, the songs are stuck in my head too.


    • Windsprite

    • 7 years ago

    After all the Beauty and the Beast is a fairytale, so that fits perfectly.
    I always think I’ve got most of the important plants (Uhm, I meant points, but let’s let “plants stand there :D”), but when clicking around I realize, that I don’t even have half of what I should have…

  6. I LOVE Beauty and the Beast and the addition of the enchanted rose is great! I’ve not heard of any of the others – I obviously don’t read enough books with wacky flora elements!

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