In my book, an island resides in an area called the Scourgesea. The Scourgesea is a place with perpetual storms and almost complete darkness because of the perpetual dark thunderstorms. Altavista is a heavily populated island with the same biome and geography as Honshu in Japan. (considering the lore of my book it could honestly be Honshu.)

My question is, what kind of flora could thrive in an environment with no light? (at the most, moonlight) I already have the idea of a prototaxite tree-like plant, but the Altavistish need some plants like rhubarbs or oat to farm and trade.

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    $\begingroup$ If there is no sunlight because of perpetual storms, how can there be occasional moonlight? $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2022 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ @zevythegreat there are nights, known as loum'n'yora, where the storms cease and the moon appears. They only happen once or twice a month. $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2022 at 0:31
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    $\begingroup$ An island "with the same biome" as Honshu has the same plants as Honshu, duh. It is like asking for the name of the father of the sons of Zebedee. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Nov 9, 2022 at 0:43
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    $\begingroup$ Bacteria and Fungi are sometimes considered flora and they don't need sunlight. $\endgroup$
    – ITM_Coder
    Nov 9, 2022 at 1:30
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    $\begingroup$ When a question is closed you should edit it and have it reopened, not repost it as new $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Nov 9, 2022 at 4:04

1 Answer 1


You want plants that don't use photosynthesis, there are a few, examples of what you're looking for that can be found by doing a search for "parasitic plants" and for "plants that don't use photosynthesis"

Gastrodia kuroshimensis is one example.

These plats will need something to parasitize and in the case of Gastrodia kuroshimensis that is fungi in the soil, which is good, as fungi also don't need light.

You will need something for the fungi to feed on though, dead animal matter might suffice but you'll also ultimately need an external source of energy to the system or it (your lightless island biome) will just feed on itself slowly shrinking until it dies.

Animals traveling from sunlit regions might provide that input in much the same way that many cave ecosystems ultimately rely on nutrients brought in by animals from outside (through the droppings of roosting bats that hunt and feed outside etc) but if that's not possible you will need something else to form the base of your ecosystem.

There aren't an awful lot of examples of this type of plant so if you want a more varied ecosystem you'll have to make up new varieties and types yourself.

  • $\begingroup$ worse those plants are going to support much life, and certainly not a town. a completely debris based ecology is very shallow and low energy, an entire island would be hard-pressed to feed a single human $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 9, 2022 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ @John as it's an island I would think something more along the lines of currents sweeping fish, krill and plankton from the sunlit sea past it > nocturnal sea birds roosting on the island to feed on those and their droppings providing the nutrients for fungi and plants .. that should be adequate for any fairly substantial ecosystem an author wanted 🤗 that would be the bats in the cave equivelent for the OPs island .. maybe I should add that, I thought it was obvious but maybe I was wrong 😕 $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Nov 9, 2022 at 12:55

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