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I've been watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood lately and noticed that Ed and Al tend to only transmute rock and metal, especially in battle. The same is true of Alex Louis Armstrong. Roy Mustang, of course, works with fire, which is energy (and thus technically inorganic). Even Solf J. Kimblee only seems to transmute rocks and metals.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we don't see people transmuting organic materials -- flowers, wood, gems, etc. The only time I can recall seeing a flower be transmuted was in Liore, when the pastor did so. Of course:

He had a philosopher's stone from Father.

Are these materials not transmutable?

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    I'm guessing you haven't made it very far into the series. – gnovice Oct 2 '12 at 18:33
  • Actually, I'm at Episode 53. I'm asking because it occurred to me that we very rarely see someone transmuting something that isn't stone or metal. – Aarthi Oct 2 '12 at 18:35
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    Although I have not watched Brotherhood, the original animated series had the applicants in Edward's state alchemist practical examination transmute wood, which is organic. And then there were the chimeras... – Xantec Oct 2 '12 at 18:46
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    I had assumed most chimeras were a result of Philosopher's Stones. – Aarthi Oct 2 '12 at 18:51
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    @Xantec: ...and the Iron Blood Alchemist, and the Sewing-Life Alchemist, and the plant-based alchemy of the Tringham family. Like you, I keep remembering stuff from the first series. – gnovice Oct 2 '12 at 18:52
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They can transmute anything, if they know exactly how to do it. For this particular question, remember Shou Tucker, his daughter Nina, and their dog, Alexander?

Tucker transmuted Nina and Alexander into this without the use of a Philosopher's Stone, in both the 2003 and 2009 series and in the manga:

Nina and Alexander

And I really do mean anything, as long as it doesn't go against the flow of the world. People cannot be brought back to life, since that would require reversing the flow, but in the manga and both series, Edward figured out how to use himself/his own soul as transmutation material near the end of the series, once he'd figured out parts of Truth.

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