I read a book in the early 80s, probably written in 60s, and all I remember is people travelled on giant floating plant-like life forms, I believe one was nicknamed "Grandpa" or "Grandfather".

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This is a James H. Schmitz story titled "Grandpa", where explorers ride a lily pad like creature that starts acting strangely. It is in the anthology "The Best Of James H. Schmitz" from Tor books.

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