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Alien Trees

I wanna be creative.

Alien trees.

I’m writing a story set on an alien planet. Several of them, in fact. So, I’m thinking a lot about trees. And grass. And flowers. All plant life, really.

My last release, The Moreva of Astoreth, took place on an alien planet. I didn’t think about the vegetation too much. Okay, not at all. I just liked the idea of purple grass. Bright purple grass. Cool, huh?

This time, I’m thinking about the type of stars the planets orbit. Earth’s star is a mainline G-type yellow dwarf. Along the spectrum, most of its light is emitted in the green range. Chlorophyll absorbs red and blue light, and reflects the green. Ergo, green vegetation.

Thanks to evolution, human eyes are most sensitive to light on the spectrum’s green range. That’s why the images we see in night-vision goggles are green.

Fun with speculative biology.

Of course, that’s not the entire story. Photosynthesis. Whatever light on the spectrum the star emits, plants would have to adapt to the range most efficient for photosynthesis, keeping in mind that “most efficient” can be relative. The light from the parent star would also be filtered by whatever gases make up the planet’s atmosphere. I guess it’d be fairly accurate to say that chlorophyll latches on to whatever works. After all, every color in the spectrum we can see, from deep violet to near-infrared, supports photosynthesis.

If we were on a mainline M-type red dwarf, what color would the vegetation be? Since a red dwarf emits much less visible light than Earth’s sun, it’d be black. Poor things would have to absorb every bit of the spectrum possible. A mainline B-type star, which is hotter and bluer than Earth’s sun, the vegetation absorbs more blue light, so it’d appear yellow or orange, possibly red. A lighter shade of red, instead of blood, I’d think. And then there are the other stars, like the yellow-white F-types.

What about binary stars? Depends on their rotation, I suppose. If they occlude one another, maybe the plants change color depending on the light received. Like an M-type and a K-type or something like that.

Can zebras have orange and blue stripes?

Those are some thoughts on vegetation. What about animals?

Hey, let me figure out the plants first!

But you know, the atmosphere has a lot to do with it, too. So that’s something else to work out.

My saving grace is all the planets are similar. The people who live on these planets migrated from a single world. And I want them to be able to relate to one another. Language has evolved somewhat, but otherwise, they haven’t lived on these secondary worlds long enough for their bodies to have experienced further evolution. That similarity also means that even if they did, the changes probably wouldn’t be so radical as to set them wholly apart from those who remained on their original world.

Funny. I hated biology in school. Just wasn’t interested.

But speculative biology? That’s waaay different. More fun, too.

Playing God, as the saying goes.

Yeah. I like that.

 

 

 

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