Meantwig Species in Manifold Sky | World Anvil


See that? That squirrel, stuck on that sharp branch up there? Keep an eye on that tree, but don't worry too much - we aren't on the menu until it's done with that little appetizer...
Miko Slaus-Braun to field researcher Vanlun Doss (deceased)
  Meantwigs are ambulatory plants which display a limited degree of intelligence. All varieties of meantwig actively hunt prey or scavenge as a solution to nutrient-poor soil conditions in the Dorsal Tesseract , though not all are aggressive without provocation; because of their size, strength, and resilience against attack, aggressive meantwigs are often the apex predators of their environments.   There are four varieties of meantwig, each of which is adapted to a particular ecological niche:
  • Rose meantwigs are denoted by their red or magenta foliage and greenish-white, smooth bark. This coloration is a form of aposematism, as the leaves and cambium layer of a rose meantwig contain poisonous amounts of an atropine-like chemical. Rose meantwigs are non-agressive scavengers and can be domesticated.
  • Sage meantwigs are denoted by their sage-colored leaves and thick, reddish-brown bark. Sage meantwigs rely on their dense outer bark layer to protect them from attack by competitor species, though they can be roused to attack by attacks to their vulnerable root-limb joints. Sage meantwigs are scavengers and can be domesticated.
  • Ash meantwigs are denoted by their dark green foliage and white bark with dark gray mottling. Ash meantwigs are aggressive and have leaves with sharp, silicate edges; they share this trait with their distant floating briar cousins. Ash meantwigs are aggressive, omnivorous predators that rely on a combination of ambush and interception strategies to acquire prey. They cannot be domesticated.
  • Jet meantwigs are a Distal variant of ash meantwigs, distinguished by their all-white bark and jet black leaves which feature the same cutting edges as those of the ash meantwigs. Because of their foliage coloration, jet meantwigs can utilize the unusual sunlight of the Distal Tesseract more efficiently than other variants.

Basic Information


All variants of meantwigs appear to be mangrove trees of up to ten feet in height. Meantwigs posses a hemispherical canopy of leaves which double as a highly acute sensory organ for the detection of air movements; a meantwig hunts in part by detecting the sound and movement of nearby creatures which might constitute prey. Sappy knots in the wood of a meantwig conceal amber-colored eyespots and chemoreceptors which grant the meantwig a directional sense of smell. A dense nodule in the upper quarter of the meantwig's trunk contains a primitive brain structure, granting the meantwig approximately the intelligence of a wolf.   A meantwig's trunk is subdivided about halfway down into three 'root-limbs,' which are each in turn subdivided into three root-digits. Seams in the root-limbs indicate where the root-limb can flex. When on the move, a meantwig uses two of these limbs as a 'root-legs,' walking in a digitigrade fashion. The third limb reaches from behind - between the root-legs - to serve as a 'root-arm,' which the meantwig uses for attacking an manipulating objects. The dense heartwood of the meantwig function as the meantwig's endoskeleton, while the cambium layer is capable of expanding and contracting in response to nerve impulses in the manner of animal muscle fibers.

Genetics and Reproduction

Meantwigs are dioecious angiosperms, meaning that individuals are either wholly male or female and they reproduce by flowering. Female plants produce small, blue fruits which serve the dual purpose of luring small animals to distribute seeds through droppings while luring large animals to become prey.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Because their native Dorsal soil is nutrient-poor, meantwigs must supplement their nutrition by anchoring their roots into decaying plant or animal matter. To do this, active meantwigs either hunt, scavenge carrion, or gather large mounds of decaying plant matter. Prey and would-be competitors are slain with bludgeoning swipes from the meantwig's root-arm, though ash and jet meantwigs can also slash opponents to ribbons with their razor-sharp leaves.   Foodstuffs are gathered by the meantwig into a cache in the creature's canopy. Once enough food has been gathered, a meantwig will anchor itself into the pile of food using its root-legs or, alternatively, hold the food aloft in its root-arm to keep it away from scavengers which might steal it. Over time, the root-limbs absorb the moisture and nutrients from the food as normal plant roots might, though meantwig digestion is hastened by the presence of symbiotic fungi and bacteria present in the 'finger' and 'toe' roots. Injuries caused by root-limbs are only marginally more prone to infection that normal injuries from an animal attack; zoonotic diseases, such as rabies, have never been observed in meantwigs.   When a meantwig discovers an area of soil rich enough to support it without hunting, it is likely to take up a stationary position in preparation for reproduction. If the soil is rich enough to sustain it for at least a decade, the meantwig's will to hunt - and thereby its intelligence - will fade away, leaving the creature immobile. Mangroves of immobile meantwigs create shade which forces juveniles to move away for sustenance, though these mangroves also provide camouflage for these juveniles' ambush tactics. Travelers in the Dorsal Tesseract are advised never to enter an unfamiliar clump of trees unless the species can be identified or when operating a forestry-rated suit of dieseltech auto-armor.

Additional Information


Non-aggressive varieties of meantwigs can be domesticated through conditioning, as the creatures appear to appreciate offerings of food. During domestication, meantwigs must be given enough food to condition them to associate a person with food, but no so much that the meantwig becomes sedentary. A domesticated meantwig will not attack its handler or other individuals it interacts with on a daily basis; this identification appears to be more through smell than sight. Meantwigs can be used to intercept intruders - they are especially valuable for this purpose on estates with large gardens or arboretums. The fruits of female meantwigs have a sweet, mildly lemony flavor, and are often eaten whole or mashed to create summertime beverages.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Meantwigs are primarily adapted to surviving in the poor soil conditions of the Dorsal Tesseract, though a few variants (notably the sage meantwigs found in the Ovinex island territories and the jet meantwigs in the Distal Tesseract) have spread to other environments. Dorsal A and G feature the largest populations of meantwigs, with sedentary individuals congregating as mangroves in swamps, bayous, and flood plains.

Active meantwigs are not known to die of old age, though they often die from violence or accident when pursuing prey or driving competitors way.

Cover image: by Jonathan Larson


Please Login in order to comment!
Apr 9, 2021 22:52 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I really like the fact that these murder-plants can be domesticated by offering them food routinely. The different varieties are cool too!

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet