Wandering Nut Picture

A submission to Zippo4k's journal entry.

Comments and especially criticism are welcome! Tell me what you don't like, what's left out, what's downright wrong, etc!


-Life cycle

The life cycle of the original plant (called 'hedge' for its propensity to grow in lateral chains, linked by an underground root system) (Fig 3) is subverted by a parasite organism so that the blooms, which by default develop into airborne seed clusters, develop instead into an embryonic fruit sac (Fig 5). The nut or seed of the fruit, upon reaching viability, 'hatches' and becomes an independent and mobile entity (Fig 1).

The 'wandering nut' is not truly a mature plant at this point, and will continue to grow in size while retaining a body membrane until the point at which it takes root and develops onto a fully grown 'mock tree'. During the wandering nut stage of the Life cycle, the parasite (Fig 4) matures into an organ cluster, comprising the light-receptive 'eyes' and attaching brain, and endures a relatively passive stage of existence (Fig 6, 9).

Upon fully maturing into the mock tree, the parasite dies upon exposure and the plant loses full sentience, retaining only a vague form of consciousness. This consciousness, however, allows it to retain a degree of motility, which it uses for obtaining light and employing defense. In addition, the striker organ is used to greater effect and can produce a timpani-like call which actually drives away other wandering nuts (Fig 11).

Eventually the exposed fruit will dry out and rupture, producing a cluster of airborne seeds, which upon having taken root will naturally sprout as uninfected hedge (Fig 3).

The parasite itself is not a DNA-based organism, rather fractal-based and inorganic, and interacts with the infected plant through chemicals and physical manipulation of the DNA molecules.


Represented are 2 similar renderings of the wandering nut anatomy, an internal view (Fig 2) and partial cutaway (Fig 7).

One of the most notable features is the resonation chamber complex, consisting of the chamber itself (which houses the vocal diaphragm and resonators) as well as the lung and striking stem. In combination, these organs can produce a wide variety of sounds, though the main 'speech' consists of a tonal 'song' similar to humming or whistling. The striking stem itself can produce a range of clicks and dull thumps, but does not produce an exceptionally loud sound.

The brain complex consists of the main root bundle as well as the parasitic computing brain, which lends the nut some higher-function processing ability. The attached eyes are light-sensitive membranes and are gas-filled. The 'eyelids' are shell-like and enclose the eye fully, and are therefore not entirely retractable (Fig 6).

Locomotion is affected by the coordinated movement of two pairs of 'bulbs’ which may actually be considered separate plants from the 'main' organism, much in the same way that separated hedge sections continue to grow independently, though genetically identical. Nut stature is highly flexible, and the basic characteristics may be slightly altered to afford bipedal as well as quadrupedal travel modes (Fig 1). Though the nut is top-heavy, its general overall weight and limb structure force it to 'wade' ankle-deep through most soils when not in high motion. Older and larger wandering nuts can become extremely heavy and prone to falling, and though the outer shell is both extremely flexible and durable, a tumble in mountainous terrain can often spell out damage that forces it to undergo metamorphosis into a mock tree.

Inside the 'skull' is a water reservoir into which both root bundles penetrate. The water content is often quite dirty and sediment settles onto the lower root bundle.
The primary root bundle can also be extended through the speech complex and take 'temporary root' (fig 10), forcing the wandering nut into a state of torpor.

Additionally, there is an extensible secondary lung holding leaves near the front of the head, allowing sunlight to be gathered if necessary. Wandering nuts need to regularly eat dirt, water, silt, etc, but only occasionally need to collect sunlight.


Inhabiting an Earth-parallel planet, Awwerang, wandering nuts are found in nearly all habitats spanning a coastal mountain range. Although hedge is viable only in a wooded mountainous region, the Life cycle of the parasitized members of the species allow it to spread even to pocket forests. Awwerang was presumedly infected with an alien ecosystem early in prehistory, at a point when terrestrial evolution had not yet conquered the land. Consequently, while microbes, plants, insects, and some marine specimens may be familiar, there are few true terrestrial vertebrates. Conversely, there are almost no extraterrestrial plants. Many plant and animal species have thus evolved in parallel, cooperative or not, though many coexisting species cannot successfully predate each other due to biological discrepancies.

All fractal-based life forms employ a group of adaptations lumped together under the term psychogastronomics, or PG. A little-understood feeding method, it makes use of matter transmission, sound resonation, and temperature effects. The hedge-parasite is small and has only a weak PG ability, mostly used to make PG static rather than as an actual feeding system. While this is a common PG defense, it nevertheless acts as a decent defense for the wandering nut, as most alien herbivores do not employ PG to obtain their non-mobile food.

-Behavior & Society

Wandering nuts live out their Life cycle literally wandering the environment in response to a great racial urge to explore. Though generally limited to their coastal mountain range, individuals have been observed traversing marshland and even into the extremes of snowfield and desert. As they mature and become heavier, wandering nuts typically come down out of the mountains and into more traversable environment where they often root down. Although fond of the silt and sediment found in marshes, wandering nuts have only a low tolerance for salt and this, combined with an natural fear of deep water due to their extreme density, typically discourages prolonged habitation in wetlands. In addition, their only natural predator, a large flightless predatory 'avian', frequents marshes (though different subspecies are found with regularity in many environments).

As a rule of thumb, the species is solitary, retiring, and xenophobic. Though they do not use tools, wandering nuts have been seen on occasion to individually build structures such as bridges, fences, and even rude dams in efforts to traverse obstacles. For example, there is a record of a exceptionally large nut enclosing several browsing animals in a small fenced-in wooded area. Over time, the browsers
denuded the ground of vegetation and the nut eventually used the clear area as a secluded spot to metamorphose.

The wandering nut language is used mainly to communicate about areas of inmterest, as well as to continue an oral tradition. As a point of importance, wandering nut mythology seems to confirms the idea that alien life was seeded on Awwerang, going so far as to credit 'deities' with direct intervention in the creation of the parasite that enables hedge to undergo the wandering nut cycle.
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