34

There are a variety of different species in Star Trek, from all walks of life. Humanoids, insectoids, silicon-based life-forms, the works. However, I can't seem to think of any sentient plant species from across all the Star Trek shows/films. Are there any that exist, throughout all of the canon? Examples from the animated series will also be included, in all its weirdness.

  • I do recall one of the funnier episodes of Lost in Space, but that doesn't answer your question. – Spencer Apr 17 '18 at 2:40
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    Sure. Lieutenant Broccoli. – Ham Sandwich Apr 17 '18 at 3:35
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    Weren't the tribbles sentient in a sort of hive mind, collectivist sense? Or were they animal not plant? – Ellie Kesselman Apr 17 '18 at 5:34
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    Why are there three identical answers? – ThePopMachine Apr 17 '18 at 5:43
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    Said like a true @HamSandwich. – a CVn Apr 17 '18 at 13:22
27

Phylosians from 'The Infinite Vulcan' ST: TAS S01E07 (1973)

enter image description here

It might not fit exactly, but apparently in early drafts of 'This Side of Paradise' the Omicron spores from Omicron Ceti II were a communal intelligence.

  • Infinite Vulcan on Memory Alpha – Servitor Apr 17 '18 at 4:44
  • In the context of all the possible xenobiologies, what exactly makes these guys plants? I mean, to me, the defining feature of a plant would be that it doesn't really have a fixed body plan, just a pattern, and something about maybe lacking a nervous system and musculature? I don't think these are plants, if you ask me. – ThePopMachine Apr 17 '18 at 16:28
  • @ThePopMachine: that's a completely separate issue to the question asked. – wcullen Apr 18 '18 at 0:13
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    @ThePopMachine Biology cares naught about your definition and opinion. Especially fantasy alien biology. Even on Earth life doesn't fit into convenient little boxes like that. They're artifices to help humans organize. And don't forget that we already have moving, carnivorous plants here. – zibadawa timmy Apr 18 '18 at 0:17
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    @zibadawatimmy, sure. But in the context of what plant means on Earth, we can appeal to common lineage. In the context of exobiology, it really raises the question of what being a plant, even means. I'm raising the issue, not proposing a definition. – ThePopMachine Apr 18 '18 at 2:46
14

Since the animated series counts, there are the Phylosians:

enter image description here

They kidnap Spock and make a 25-foot tall clone of him.

  • Infinite Vulcan on Memory Alpha – Servitor Apr 17 '18 at 4:45
  • In the context of all the possible xenobiologies, what exactly makes these guys plants? I mean, to me, the defining feature of a plant would be that it doesn't really have a fixed body plan, just a pattern, and something about maybe lacking a nervous system and musculature? I don't think these are plants, if you ask me. – ThePopMachine Apr 17 '18 at 16:28
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    @ThePopMachine I don't know about real world definitions, but the episode repeatedly refers to them as plants, so as far as Star Trek universe is concerned they're plants. – toothpanda Apr 17 '18 at 18:37
13

In the TNG episode Shades of Grey, Riker is attacked by a vine that demonstrates a basic level of sentience. It attacks living things, but not Data, and writhes when they cut off its thorn.

enter image description here

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    Nothing is this answer at all indicates sentience to me. I see a vine that can detect organic molecules and tries to escape when injured. Purely mechanical. – ApproachingDarknessFish Apr 17 '18 at 17:54
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    I immediately thought of this one as well, do don't worry lol. Agree that this is just a defense mechanism, like a cuddly cholla cactus. – NOP Apr 17 '18 at 22:36
  • @ApproachingDarknessFish I'd attribute this answer to sci-fi's longstanding sentient/sapient terminology issue. – Izkata Apr 18 '18 at 16:18
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Since there seems to be no animal life on the planet Pahvo from Discovery season 1 episode 8, the sentient Pahvans presumably originated as plant life of some kind.

  • Yeah, the planet that can be a space sonar (facepalm) was able to decide to contact the Klingons – Trevor Apr 17 '18 at 19:10
4

in DS9 Julian mentions that Ensign Vilix'pran is "budding" with twins.

Vilix'pran

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    Is there any evidence that he was a plant other than using the word "budding"? – colmde Apr 17 '18 at 13:36
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    There are animal species that reproduce via budding; see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budding#Animal_reproduction. (If anything, I'd say that that term is more commonly applied to animals than to plants.) – ruakh Apr 17 '18 at 18:46
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    @colmde Apparently the young need a hatchling pond (amphibian?) and have wings (not amphibian), so...they're kind of all over the place. But neither of those things sound "plant-like" to me. He just seems to have been meant to sound like everything. – zibadawa timmy Apr 18 '18 at 0:12
  • @ruakh Interesting, the two primary examples in that link - corals and sponges - I always thought were plants. And apparently they were both classified as such for centuries, for a short time had a third designation (neither plant nor animal), and then got classified as animals by a very strict definition that can't be seen with the naked eye. – Izkata Apr 18 '18 at 16:23
4

The plants in This SIde of Paradise seem to have some intelligence - they turn to shoot spores into people who aren't already space-hippie-zombies.

Spock is already a space-hippie-zombie

They also seem to have some sort of control over people who get sprayed - they want to protect the plants and expand the plants' control over other people. I'm not sure if this fits your definition of Sentience.

[Farmyard]

KIRK: Spock, is that you?

[Pasture]

SPOCK: Yes, Captain. What did you want?

KIRK [OC]: Where are you?

SPOCK: I don't believe I want to tell you.

[Farmyard]

KIRK: Spock, I don't know what you think you're doing, but this is an order. Report back to me at the settlement in ten minutes. We're evacuating all colonists to Starbase Twenty Seven.

[Pasture]

SPOCK: No, I don't think so.

[Farmyard]

KIRK: You don't think so, what?

[Pasture]

SPOCK: I don't think so, sir.

  • 'The Starfleet Survival Guide' (D. Mack) does state that there is a symbiotic relationship between the spores and the hosts based upon neurochemical bonds. However, it goes on to state that this explains the symptoms of serotonin release. No explanation about actual sentient interaction is proved in the entry. Also, I'm not sure the book counts as canon. – wcullen Apr 18 '18 at 0:59
  • The Omicron spores are iffy. Notes in an early draft state that they have a "communal intelligence," but this changed by the final draft/episode. The spores infect a person, but there's no evidence that the spores control them--it appears to be an attribute of the infection much like being protected from the otherwise dangerous berthold rays. Once infected, strong human emotions overcome the infection. The spores infect humans but are not in a symbiotic or parasitic-like relationship (and, in earlier drafts, it was blood-type or alcohol that thwarted the spores, not emotions). – wcullen Apr 18 '18 at 1:01

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