In the universe that I am writing about, there are flows of mana similar to a jet stream that crisscross the land but are invisible to the human eye (except perhaps to mystics, etc). They are sensitive to weather conditions and shift in direction slightly every year. The streams themselves are like rivers and can be relatively wide. Notably, they are less responsive to gravity and can be very "tall" into the skies.

They can provide energy to manasynthetic plant or bacteria and at rates more efficient than standard photosynthesis, so these streams, while invisible to the human eye, would likely have notably different flora within. The things I would like to speculate on would be:

Would the flora have notably different means of propagation than regular plants? Since they are following a moving stream of nutrition, would widespread air pollination still be as viable?

Thanks in advance.

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    $\begingroup$ Unless these mana flows are able to affect the movement of physical objects, they wouldn't have any effect on pollination. The pollen is an object that still has to physically move from one plant to another. Having additional nutrient sources wouldn't impact that in any way I can think of. $\endgroup$ – Morris The Cat Nov 26 '19 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ Well, it would be evolutionarily optimal for the plants to spread its seed in a way so that it'll reach other places touched by mana rather than scattering them randomly. $\endgroup$ – user67631 Nov 26 '19 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ Since manna cannot physically interact with matter (else it would muss our hair and make our clothes sticky when we blunder through it), it cannot carry seeds. However, your manasynthetic plants can magically transport seeds anywhere your story requires at just the right time. That's one of the nice things about magic. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Nov 26 '19 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ I'm thinking of something like UV light. It does interact with matter, just not in a way that's particularly obvious or specifically useful to us. The equipment needed to interact with it has not been invented by my population of humans. $\endgroup$ – user67631 Nov 26 '19 at 19:33

Assuming this is an evolved trait of the world, then some plants will have logically evolved around this trait. Since you have stated that manasynthesis is more efficient than photosynthesis, then I would expect these plants to angle towards these magical currents just like our plants learn towards the sun now. In addition, expect these plants to either die or hibernate when the mana winds are not over them, depending on if/when the winds cycle back to the same spot over time.

A brief look at Wikipedia's article on Seed Dispersal outlines the main ways that seed disperse: Through air or water, attached to other animals, or ingested by animals that then deposit them.

Through Air/Water

The main question is if the physical winds and the mana winds blow in the same or a similar direction. If they do, then a directed aerial propagation by means of the flower head pointing in the direction of the mana stream would still be plausible. It might not be as effective, but with a high enough success rate, it might not be urgently selected out.

Another consideration if if the magical flora can build a seed capsule to ride the mana streams? That would defintiely help your plants find a suitable home as they can only fly far in air saturated by a mana stream. So aerial propagation would still be a strategy, but it rides on the currents of magic as opposed to the wind.

Related to this, propagation through water would have similar concerns. However travel by water is a lot more limited in concept. Any manasynthetic plants that disperse their seeds through water are likely to thrive only in oceans, seas, and similar large bodies of water.

A final consideration for this part is what will the burgeoning manasynthetic plant seeds need to sprout? Do they germinate in the mana currents, then land and root? Do they require magically enriched topsoil and/or rains in order to sprout?


The biggest difference in this part is if the manasynthetic plants require some form of magical energy from whatever animal that disperses its seeds, or derived from the plant itself upon interaction with said animal.

An idea is that a critter eats the berry and its seed(s). The critters gets energy from the berry as normal and the seed(s) gets the leftover magical energy from the berry as extra food to prepare for germination.

TL;DR: I don't see why dispersal methods would be notably different. But I would expect specialization to take advantage of the mana currents and their effects.

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    $\begingroup$ This also made me realize that I haven't completely considered the byproducts of manasynthesis, which in itself can be an interesting area to explore. $\endgroup$ – user67631 Nov 29 '19 at 15:21

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