Great films about plants:
“The Day of the Triffids”.

by Eric Shalit | June 1st, 2010

Following yesterday’s posting about the documentary “A Man Named Pearl”, I began to consider creating a list of horticulture-themed films. The first that came to mind is the 1962 classic “The Day of the Triffids”. It takes a British gardening sensibility to envision a monster that appears in the form of a giant rose bush. The world is struck blind by a solar storm, and millions of man-eating mobile plants are released to roam Britain. A great quote from the film is “All plants move. They don’t usually pull themselves out of the ground and chase you.”

The Day of the Triffids is based on the post-apocalyptic novel of the same name written in 1951 by the English science fiction author John Wyndham. The protagonist is Bill Masen, an Englishman who has made his living working with “Triffids”, plants capable of aggressive and seemingly intelligent behaviour: they are able to move about on their three “legs”, appear to communicate with each other and possess a deadly whip-like poisonous sting that enables them to kill and feed on the rotting carcasses of their victims. The book implies they were bioengineered in the Soviet Union and then accidentally released into the wild when a plane carrying their seeds was shot down. Triffids begin sprouting all over the world, and their extracts prove to be superior to existing vegetable oils. The result is worldwide cultivation of Triffids.

In a 2009 BBC mini-series version, the herbal creature was created by a scientist who mutated the Triffids to produce a green source of oil that the world craves. Let that be a lesson to those who believe a green energy source is just around the corner. Just around the corner indeed!

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