I've completed many searches and can't find anything related. It was a short story about a giant, sentient tree that was communicating with a human on an alien world. Some tragedy had damaged the tree and it was going to die. The tree marvelled that the man was very intelligent but his body was so fragile. The tree assimilated itself into the man's body and gave him huge survival abilities, including the ability to be in space without the need to breathe.


This sounds like "Hybrid" (1961) by Keith Laumer. In that story a large sentient tree was damaged by a windstorm, and needed to send out its seeds before it died. A human survey team of three had landed on the planet. Two of them wanted to harvest a drug that the tree had in its body. Doing so would kill the tree. The third, who was more of a "nerd" (and the viewpoint character) stops them, hitting one over the head with a tree branch IIRC. The VP char then is infected with the seeds, which will act as symbiotes, and significantly extend the VP char's life. Eventually he will root in a chosen spot and live for thousands of years as a tree.

"Hybrid" originally appeared in F&SF Nov 1961, and was reprinted in the collections Nine by Laumer, Dinochroome, The Best of Keith Laumer, Alien Minds, Odyssey, and The Essential Keith Laumer, as well as the anthologies Fiction, #126 and Decade: The 1960s according to the ISFDB. have three of these collections.

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    If accepted, a duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/234103/man-tree-symbiosis
    – user14111
    Jan 14 at 22:06
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    I appreciate the response, especially the link. I have scanned the book but it isn't the story I'm thinking of; however, it has jogged my memory with some additional information.. The one I'm after was definitely a short story, the protagonist IIRC was the only human involved. After the assimilation, his expected lifetime would be measured in thousands of years and he was almost invulnerable. He left the planet to explore the Universe.
    – Knapweed
    Jan 14 at 23:33
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    I apologise profusely. I skiimmed through the link, not realising that the story was only 17 pages long and skimmed the entire 128 pages, getting confused in the process. Having read the correct part, you scored a direct hit. That is the story. Thank you"
    – Knapweed
    Jan 15 at 12:02

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