This question is inspired by book The Day of the triffids and this question

Russia and USA have never been really "friends", lets admit it. So we will not be surprised, that one of them (pick your side) secretly developed "The triffids" - plants which can move, produce loads of seeds and such seeds can be spread in the wind.

And yes, these plants seem to be intelligent and use poisonous spit to paralyze their prey (which causes humans to go blind)

During one military training, where the seeds were loaded, something went wrong and triffid seeds were released in stratosphere. So these plants were successfully released to the whole Earth.

The sad news: Humans did not make it. They all died, Jim. (Or, if you cannot accept it, try to accept the fact, that humans very few survived and are so busy fighting off the triffids that they cannot come up with a plan into getting rid of the plants)

Moving on into the future, thousands and thousands of years, even eons, if needed.

It is safe to assume, that some animals did survive the triffids. Now:

  1. Can I assume that some animals would develop into fighting the triffids?
  2. Is it plausible to assume, that the "deadly" weapon against the triffids would be salt? They are still plants...
  3. What threats could such animal have to use salt as weapon against the plants?
  • $\begingroup$ Still trying to pronouns "triffids" correctly in a Russian accent. $\endgroup$ Mar 18, 2016 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ Technically in the story it was a comet that made all the humans go blind, not spit triffid venom. $\endgroup$
    – Josh King
    Jul 8, 2016 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ @JoshKing The blindness followed a huge event of shooting stars. This have been meteors or comet debris. There is the suggestion that satellite weapons were responsible. Wyndham was ambiguous about the cause of the blindness. So there's no one easy answer. Triffids when they stung usually aimed for the eyes. As if they 'knew' this would rob humans of their advantage of sight. Again, Wyndham was ambiguous. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Aug 17, 2016 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


There's an abundance of a certain plant - surely a herbivorous species will enjoy the new source of food, developing immunity to the poison. They can be insects or small rodents, or pretty much anything that could avoid the plant attacks relatively efficiently.

Salt is unlikely to be plausible, because in most world regions it's a very precious mineral in the nature, and in large concentrations it's deadly to most life. Animals wander long distances to reach places where a salt vein is exposed, licking the mineral to resupply the ions in their bodies.

Still, there are regions where salt is abundant. Specifically, all sea shores, salt lakes and... cities in winter areas, where roads were salted in winter - the contamination will last for centuries.

Now, our animal species developed a poisonous bite - injecting saline into the victim. While it would be hardly harmful to most species, it changes the vulnerable electrolytic balance of triffids (we can assume it's vulnerable, because why not? Snails are extremely vulnerable to that, even minimal amount of salt is lethal to them). The side effect is leaking 'ichor' from the wound, which the animal drinks, both feeding and recovering some of the lost salt.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1 for turning predator into prey. That is always a remarkably effective way to turn the tables. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Mar 4, 2015 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ their oil is supposed to be very 'potent' in some way (which is why they had triffid farms), so surely something would develop to take advantage of it. If not insects feeding off of it, bacteria might quickly evolve to thrive off of the oils they exude. Triffids, like so many crops, might fall to some bacterial/fungal blight. $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2015 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ First you say "salt is unlikely to be plausible", but then you descibe it anyway. Did I misunderstand something? $\endgroup$
    – o0'.
    Mar 4, 2015 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Lohoris: Unlikely doesn't mean impossible. Salt is a poor choice of poison, since it would be hard for organisms of the predator to develop immunity to it in concentrations harmful to the prey. But again, hard doesn't mean impossible. It's an unlikely scenario but if it happened, it would happen along these lines. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Mar 4, 2015 at 16:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .