I’m trying to find a book where colonists land on a new planet but the food supply / plants turn out to be toxic to people. In the end the people realize the plants aren't actually toxic, but extremely concentrated with healthy minerals - and if they dilute them, the plants are very healthy and nutritious.

[edits added]: this book was read in the early 90s or late 80s so it is not Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder (from 2010) or The Green Book - which had glass like plants, not 'toxic' plants which were just super concentrated nutrients. Thanks for your help so far everybody, but we're still looking for the answer.

  • 1
    Do you remember when or where you first read this book? Or what form the book was published in (e.g. part of an anthology, red hardback)?
    – alexwlchan
    Jan 28 '16 at 21:59
  • I read the book in the late 80s or early 90s. Unfortunately I can't remember much else.
    – Jman
    Jan 28 '16 at 22:35
  • Pretty sure it was a child or young adult that figured it out and saved the day.
    – Jman
    Jan 28 '16 at 22:36
  • And it's not The Green Book BTW which had plants that were glass or crystals that just needed to be ground up - this definitely had super concentrated nutrients.
    – Jman
    Jan 28 '16 at 22:38
  • In Orson Scott Card's "Pathfinder," human colonists inhabit a planet with toxic plants. I don't remember if the second part applies or not. Jan 29 '16 at 6:48

The Faces of Ceti by Mary Caraker

Arriving at the Tau Ceti system they intend to colonize, 500 Earth pioneers are surprised to find not one, but two habitable planets. An ideological rift between them suggests a division of the colonists, and the absorbing plot follows the struggle for survival on the smaller planet, surrounded by harsh conditions, poisonous plants, and the native, possibly intelligent, hlur. These are interesting animals, something like burbling kangaroos, and the question of whether they are sentient fuels a heated debate about killing and eating them in the face of a severe food shortage. Teenagers Maya and Brock risk their lives to discover the secret of the hlur and why they can eat the indigenous plants when earthlings cannot.

  • 1
    This sounds like it might be it. The nature of the "secret of the hlur" they discover would be the most relevant piece of information.
    – DCShannon
    Mar 22 '17 at 20:17
  • If I recall correctly, they learn how to treat and eat the plants.
    – user80148
    Mar 22 '17 at 20:56
  • If you've actually read this book, mentioning that in your answer would help assure voters that it's actually a match.
    – DCShannon
    Mar 22 '17 at 22:18

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