I'm trying to find a book or short story that I read, and the most memorable part of it was about intelligent plants.

This is what I remember:

  • I read the short story as part of a anthology. The anthology had ~5 chapters in, each of which about a different species.
  • I think that it was part of a longer story, perhaps a full book
  • Human civilization, which was space-faring had a chapter, as did other species

The most memorable part of the book to me was a chapter on intelligent plants.

These plants evolved intelligence on their world. Eventually some of them evolved the ability to uproot themselves and move. I believe they could swap genes and genetically engineer themselves.

Another alien species landed on their planet and set forth terraforming it. The plants fought back with chemicals in the soil and such, but were almost annihilated. They eventually triumphed over the invading species because they were able to genetically engineer the plants of the invaders to be intelligent and ally with them.

I believe they became a space-faring species through some kind of specially grown tree/plant.


I read this story in the past 5 years, and I'm guessing that it was written at least since the 1990's probably in the 2000's.

I would have guessed it was in a "Year's best sci fi" since I have read a fair number of those, but they don't seem to have excerpts from longer works. I'm not sure which anthologies tend to have them

This was not an Earth centric story, it took place in the galaxy at large. However humans were definitely in it, as well, I think, as a Point of view species from someone they were or had been at war with

This is very fuzzy, but I have the feeling that all the races were going to some central meeting for some reason or another


1 Answer 1


Perhaps Hothouse by Brian Aldiss?

Hothouse is a 1962 award-winning fantasy/science fiction novel by British author Brian Aldiss, composed of five novelettes that were originally serialised in a magazine. In the US, an abridged version was published as The Long Afternoon of Earth; the full version was not published there until 1976. The five stories which make up the novel, which were published separately in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1961, were collectively awarded the 1962 Hugo Award for Best Short Fiction.

In the novel, Earth now has one side constantly facing the sun (which is larger and hotter than it is at present) so it has become a veritable hothouse, where plants have filled almost all ecological niches. According to Aldiss' account, the US publisher insisted on the name change so the book would not be placed in the horticulture section in bookshops.

  • 1
    There are no invaders in "Hothouse". Mar 3, 2016 at 16:40
  • It looks like an interesting story, but not the one I was thinking of. Mar 6, 2016 at 6:49
  • and there's no engineering iirc.
    – releseabe
    Dec 20, 2019 at 21:56

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