Lantern Plant

Lantern plant
Image from Steve Bowers

A genetically-engineered, gnarled, bonsai-like potted plant with ivy-like reddish-green leaves.

It produces large, trumpet-like flowers that are transparent, hard as glass and point upwards. At the bottom of the flower a series of glands produce a flammable liquid, not unlike kerosene. A long, spongy stamen can be set alight and used as a wick.

The plant's use as a lantern (for example at parties) is essential in its reproduction cycle; the heat from the burning lamp triggers seed dispersion, and the thermal convection sends the seeds soaring into the air.

The glass-bulb flowers is formed using a series of genes from terrestrial plants of the genus Graminacae, which naturally deposits silica crystals on the edges of their leaves.

Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by David Hallberg
Initially published on 18 November 2003.