What modification would a plant — especially tree — develop in a world where everything is made of sugar, caramel, cake, syrup, soda, etc.?

Think of something like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, or whole cake island from One Piece, except it doesn’t get moldy or stale or decay in any way.

I was thinking it was due to some advanced preservative chemical in it, but I want to know how different the plant would be if the world doesn't have preservatives and just for some reason this sweet planet never develops fungus or mold, never gets stale, etc.

Would the plant need to have animal-like organs as in the answer what organs or modification needed to have plants that drink liquid blood? Maybe they would need liver and kidney or maybe pancreas or insulin? Or are botanical organs/systems (roots, leaves, etc.) sufficient?

I know there are plants that contains high concentrations of sucrose, like sugarcane, but since this world is literally made of sugar and stuff, would the plant be different or more likely put their excess food in different parts like the root or something?

The majority of the plant itself is a normal plant, but if possible I also want to know what they would be like if they were made of sweet material such as the rest of the world is made of.

I also want the plant to be able to bear fruit and flower, but I guess since everything is made of sugar and sweetness there won't be animals attracted to the flowers, so it probably uses wind more as pollination method.

As I mention, this is real plant that performs photosynthesis, so fungus and such is not part of this. Carnivorous plants are also out of the question.

Feel free to edit my grammar or the tags to be appropriate for my question, since I am not sure which tags are most appropriate for my question.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 6:53

4 Answers 4


Sugars are energy even for a plant. Having so much sugars around is like having free lunch every day. Trouble is that the table might be crowded. Plant would need to develop a lot more symbiotic relations with the surrounding bacteria than usual. I imagine that such world would be swamped by bacteria and insects.

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    $\begingroup$ bacteriophages too, it'd be a jungle at every level $\endgroup$
    – kleer001
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 20:03

Kind of depends on the weather.

If it rains in this world, there are already plants that can live there with practically no modification. Air plants don't need soil at all (sometimes you see them sold on crystals at Whole Foods). Bamboo just uses the ground as a kind of place to anchor while it absorbs water from the soil (the one that has been on my desk for a year is just in a pile of pebbles).

We kind of get the idea that trees build themselves up from things in the dirt. But it might be more accurate to think of the dirt like the tiny vitamins humans take. Plants mostly build their bodies out elements pulled from the air (which is really a kind of miracle in my opinion).

Now, it should be noted that air plants get the few nutrients they need from the rain, which has various elements picked up from the air. If your planet is all sugar, will these elements still exist? Does it even rain? Is the rain sweet? If they always absorb sugary water, they may taste quite nice.
If not, are there rivers of chocolate that perhaps contain some nitrogen the plants could live along? In which case, specialized bacteria in their root structure could act as an interface to claim it (as they do on Earth).

  • $\begingroup$ i was thinking the rain also sweet, but i dont know is it possible in the evaporation/rain cycle or not. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 16:40

My first thought about your description is that perhaps this would not be a place for plants, for the reasons discussed in the comments even.

Vegetables may not thrive so well in such a place, with unlimited reserves of an energy source that vegetables produce for themselves, in fact, the entire planet by itself appears to be a plant by itself, which makes the place incredibly favorable for living beings in some ecological relationship with the plants thrive and fulfill their roles to complete the countless chemical cycles that make life possible.

I know you put a restriction on fungi, but with the conditions given they are by far the type of living thing that would best adapt. Just as in the comments I said that we should not expect anything that we would call a plant because to our experience of what plants are in our world, the idea of what fungi are in that world need not be exactly what we see as a fungus here.

Two examples from animal biology illustrate well, the first is the musk ox which is, at first glance, a longhaired ox. This animal is actually closer to being a goat that has grown too much than exactly an ox.

The second is one of the most hated animals by humans, and one of the most present for us: the cockroach. The vast majority of people, when imagining the position of this insect on the evolutionary tree, imagine on some branch close to the beetles. However, the cockroach is a termite (or the inverse?).

Returning to the planet that Princess Bubblegum colonized after she was at peace with Tree Thunks and her space childhood, on a sweet planet fungi would thrive in such a way that they would occupy the most different biological niches that in the absence of suitable conditions for vegetables, they would be sovereign. Of course, the first thought is a world with maple syrup waterfalls flanked by giant mushrooms, but a fungus could take on different features, according to different strategies for reproducing.

Flowers and fruits enter this point. Vegetables use it as tactic to attract living beings able to moving around to spread their seeds. This implies that in this world, fungi must have something different that is attrative to some other living being, a differential. Remember also that in an environment that has this level of abundance, however paradisiacal it may seem to us, it will only be 'more of the same' for those who live there.

[I'm afraid of that thought, I'm trying hard to write with some seriousness but the image of hippies came after LSD and psilocybin]

What could be a differential that these life forms fixed in the soil can offer in a world with abundant food to attract 'animals' that would eventually pollinate and disperse the seeds, making the formation of mushrooms less efficient to reproduce? Think that then the variety of shapes it can take is the size of your creativity.

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    $\begingroup$ Forget the cockroaches, the real danger on this world is ants. Once they show up, pretty soon it's just a big planet sized ball of ants... $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 20:02

Nothing need be done to modify the nature of terrestrial plants to live in your world.

Plants are as active (though not ambulatory) and have as much agency as animals. In fact there's the idea that plants mostly tolerate animals because they help move seeds and pollen around.

Plants can be tough bastards. Look at the moss living in tundra or the titanic cacti living in deserts.

They can even modify their environment to better suit their growing style, killing their competitors. Look at daffodils: https://www.poison.org/articles/2015-mar/daffodils

As sugar water has a neutral Ph your biome is wide open. Have fun!

In addition you might have plants that completely abandon photosynthesis as sugar is a universal source of energy. Look at Mycoheterotrophs :



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    $\begingroup$ When someone says words like "Look at Mycoheterotrophs" to me, I make it a policy to stop everything I am supposed to be working on and focus on the cool new thing immediately. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ @captainskyfish Saccharomyces cerevisiae - trivial as it may be, no party would be fun without it in existence. With that much sugar around, it's about time for it to evolve. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi I am a tea totaler, so I may not use this organism to party like you mean. However, if you mean that no party would be fun without delicious bread, then I am forced to agree. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 22:01
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    $\begingroup$ @CaptainSkyfish either way. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to talk to my liver, give it a heads-up for the fun party this evening :) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 22:25

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