Green Thumb

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    Cornelia green thumb 8841.jpg

    Ysengrin: You should admire this body Lord Coyote has gifted me with, Renard. Now the very trees of Gillitie are under my command!
    Reynardine: I tremble in the presence of your terrifying skills of gardening, Ysengrin.


    This trope goes beyond the usual meaning of "green thumb" (or "green fingers" in the UK) as an idiom for being good at growing plants, and into the power of supernatural control of plants (and usually fungi, too) via Super Powers or Applied Phlebotinum. People with this sort of Green Thumb can essentially make plants grow, make them dance around like animals, create vines from the earth, summon poison ivy, sic trees at you, and so on.

    It can easily overlap with What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?; even if the character is very powerful, they're liable to be mocked anyway. Writers often go out of their way to disprove these assumptions through displays of great power from plant-based characters. Sometimes, it can be considered a kind of Elemental Powers, especially if it allows the use of Petal Power. May be paired with Fertile Feet. May involve Talking to Plants. Often overlaps with Reed Richards Is Useless, since it seldom occurs to them to grow fruits and vegetables for the hungry or reverse the effects of deforestation. Symbol Motif Clothing can be involved if the wearer has several plant shapes on his/her clothing.

    The Plant Person and Nature Spirit are especially fond of this trope. An especially powerful Green Thumb allows a character to create a World-Healing Wave. Sometimes classified as one of the Elemental Powers. Compare Friend to All Living Things.

    Examples of Green Thumb include:

    Anime and Manga

    • Giorno Giovanna of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, his stand, Gold Experience, allows him to give life to inanimate objects, which just happens to include creation of plants, plants that can hurt you if you swing for them (but not how you think).
    • Kurama of Yu Yu Hakusho, who shows just how dangerous this ability can be when given to someone who employs Batman Gambits in battle.
    • Taruto in Tokyo Mew Mew turns regular plants into Plant Aliens in order to use this ability. The other enemies just use mutant animals for their MOTWs.
    • Shin, the Knight of Plants, in Prétear (and Himeno, when she "merges" with him). For the record, he is the weakest of the seven Leafe Knights, but this has more to do with his age rather than his powers. The anime adaptation conveniently utilizes his abilities by giving him the task of creating Phantom Zone using plants during each battle.
    • Suiseiseki and Souseiseki (the Mismatched Eyes twins) from Rozen Maiden.
      • Hina-Ichigo also has plant powers, but she is far weaker than the twins.
    • Kusano in Sekirei has this as her power. She even carries around a little potted plant with her at all times and can use said plant to snag people with vines.
    • Helba from Final Fantasy Unlimited.
    • The titular character of The Law of Ueki can create trees from trash and use said trees as weapons or implements. He also likes nature, especially plants.
    • Mokuren Nagai from Flame of Recca, who later turns into a plant man himself, and he uses his 'roots' for...interesting, but nasty things.
    • Shirabe of Mahou Sensei Negima! has some mysterious blood-line trait allowing her to grow and control vines anywhere she feels. So far, it's been used as a villainous example of a Worf Barrage in her attempt to taunt, bait, and defeat Kotarō.
    • The Mokuton power in Naruto gives its wielder the ability to create wood from some strange fusion of Earth and Water jutsus and allows full control of all wooden entities as well as the ability to suppress Tailed Beast chakra (possibly a reference to how trees were often used to contain monsters in Japanese mythology). The use of this ability is only possible with the DNA of the 1st Hokage, making the only users him and Yamato (who had the First's DNA implanted into him at a young age). Also, Danzo, when he had part of the First Hokage's face grafted to his arm, and Madara Uchiha, who has the First Hokage's face on his chest.
      • The purified chakra of the Kyuubi acts somewhat like this. Even the chakra-fueled wood of Mokuton blossoms into leaf in its presence. This was then weaponized when Naruto discovered the chakra could forcibly transform Zetsu's clones into trees.
    • Sailor Jupiter of Sailor Moon uses plants more than thunder in her attacks in the manga. The anime stripped this element of her powers entirely, only invoking this in her final attack, "Jupiter Oak Evolution", which still used thunder instead. She even wore a belt filled with potpourri in the manga and this is retained in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.
      • Evil example: Tellu of the Witches 5 (who is one of Sailor Jupiter's evil counterparts) in Sailor Moon S specialises in plants that steal people's souls (or Heart Crystals in the anime), while in Sailor Moon Super S, Cere Cere of the Amazoness Quartetto manipulates flowers.
    • The minor character Tatara from Fushigi Yuugi.
    • Russel and Fletcher Tringham from the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist are very good at using alchemy this way.
    • Courtney from Pokémon Special is an interesting variation as she doesn't have superpowers; she instead uses berry juice, tree sap, and acid for a variety of purposes including burning someone's eyes, glue, melting, and so on. Her knowledge of plants likely comes from the fact that she used to participate in contests.
    • Aki Izayoi/Akiza Izinski of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's uses Plant-type monsters, and her psychic powers bring them to life.
    • Utahime/Kahimi from Mon Colle Knights can summon giant vines and control the lifeforce of any plant through song.
    • A combination of two years Training from Hell on a carnivorous island and this trope are how Usopp Took a Level in Badass in One Piece.

    Comic Books

    • Batman foe Pamela "Poison Ivy" Isley is one of the most famous examples of this trope. Her levels of deadliness vary across different adaptations. She has shown some capacity for good, also. When Gotham was in the midst of No Man's Land, Ivy killed Clayface and used her powers to grow fruits and vegetables for the stranded people to eat in a coordinated effort with Batman.
      • Otherwise, she gets her kicks by feeding people to giant pitcher plants and Venus Fly traps. Lady's in Arkham for a reason.
      • Also, her predecessor, Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.
    • The Legion of Super Heroes, Chlorophyll Kid of the "Substitute Heroes". The reason it sucks is because he can just make the monster plants grow, he can't control them.
    • Vertigo Comics' Black Orchid.
    • Conservation Corps' Green Horn.
    • The villainous El Seed in The Tick (animation)
    • Redlance in Elf Quest. And, of course, his ancestor, Goodtree.
    • Green Thumb in "The Freshmen".
    • Klara Prast in Runaways
    • Swamp Thing and Tefe Holland; the whole Parliament of the Trees actually.
    • Plantman of Marvel Comics. A fairly lame villain, which he lampshades in Paradise X when he points out that he could easily have used his abilities to feed the hungry instead of for theft. Took a Level in Badass when he joined the Thunderbolts and renamed himself "Blackheath".

    Fan Works


    • Swamp Thing
    • Will's best/girlfriend, Layla, in Sky High. She's classified as a sidekick, not because it's lame, but because, at classification, she insisted on not using it until necessary.


    • The Trope Namer is almost certainly Tistou, from Maurice Druon's Tistou les pouces verts ("The Boy With the Green Finger", in a loose translation), who has the power to make plants grow faster with but a touch of his thumb.
    • Irene of Xanth only has the ability to make plants grow, but the selection of plants (Xanth is home to a plethora of deadly, gigantic, ambulatory, carnivorous plants, as well as explosive cherries and pineapples) available to her is such that this is pretty damned useful.
    • Plant mages in Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic universe, most notably Briar and Rosethorn. Importantly, this is not an example of What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?, as demonstrated in Street Magic and basically whenever anyone pisses Rosethorn off enough.
      • Just to clarify, in Street Magic, Briar came close to blowing up a house using a miniature tree he'd sold the house owner earlier. It's explicitly stated that it'll be years before anyone can get close to the scene.
        • Not to mention the fact that he and Rosethorn specifically cultivate seeds to put in little cloth balls so they can plant them at need. This in itself is not terribly impressive until you learn that those seed balls either become clinging vines that can restrain large numbers of heavily armed people, rock-destroying plants accelerated so they can tear down stone walls in a matter of minutes, or vines with incredibly sharp thorns, which Briar can grow so fast that he uses them to rip straight through an assassin who thought he could sneak up behind his back.
    • Arguably, Magrat from Wyrd Sisters, though she only does it once and finds it hard to control. Still, very awesome.
    • Swan in Swan Song has this uncanny ability to cause green to sprout despite a seven year nuclear winter.
    • Woodcrafters in the Codex Alera, though no one in their right mind would mistake them for useless; a Knight Flora can basically become invisible if there's enough plant matter nearby and they're some of the deadliest archers ever, since their abilities give them Improbable Aiming Skills. Woodcrafters can also sense changes in plant matter as well, making them excellent scouts and sentries.
      • A good woodcrafter who is also a good earthcrafter, like Bernard or Fidelias, is an even better archer, being able to wield ridiculously large and powerful bows thanks to earth-granted Super Strength.
    • Belgarath, challenged on his identity early in the Belgariad, proves it by jamming a twig from his horse's tail into the cracks in some flagstones and growing it into an apple tree. Then he orders the knight who challenged him to care for that tree for the rest of his life. At last report, the knight and his family still were. Similar feats of plant manipulation appear sporadically throughout the series.
    • In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, Rose can hear plants talk. She tries to ignore it; wearing her Orphan's Plot Trinket helps.

    Live-Action TV

    Tabletop Games

    Card Games

    • As Green is the color of nature, any Green planeswalker in Magic: The Gathering would generally fall under this.
      • Of the printed cards, only one of the two green-aligned ones printed so far have exhibited direct control over plants (in the form of land manipulation). It's also fairly common to assume that a planeswalker card doesn't represent the planeswalker itself, but a pact made with that one, so the other could use magic to mess with plants. In addition, there are still numerous non-planeswalking green-aligned wizards with this power.
        • Arguably, if you've picked the right cards for the deck, the player could fall under this trope.

    Tabletop RPG

    • The 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons features the Verdant Lord prestige class, which took Druids (already quite green) and turned them into masters of plants.
      • It returns in Fourth edition as a paragon path for the Warden, the Primal Defender class.
      • Not to mention certain Priest skills, like Shilelagh and Entangle.
    • Demon: The Fallen has Lore of the Wild, which is quite useful. Examples include plants, include ivy, tearing down a wall, as well as the usefulness of being able to sense things which are near to plants.
    • Scion features the Boon of Fertility, which is generally considered to be one of the lamest Boon sets in the game, seeing as the Hero rank powers range from "keep a plant alive no matter what the conditions" to "make sure a crop suffers no blight." Mind you, some of the higher level powers are interesting, like, "make plants grow anywhere"—especially since the accompanying illustration depicts a car overgrown with vines.
      • A little imagination makes this Boon set somewhat frightening, particularly in the hands of an amoral Scion. Remember, people used to sacrifice their children so that the crops would grow...
        • It gets better if you tough it out. Some of the higher level powers allow you to accelerate plant growth at ridiculous speeds, to the point where you can create a forest in seconds. Another power allows you to spontaneously create any sort of plant in existence, and this troper has seen a game where someone used it to create instant battering rams. You call Fertility a lame power when someone hits you with a redwood tree at a hundred miles an hour...
    • Druids and Plant College mages in GURPS, especially with Plant Spells supplement.


    Video Games

    • Okami has the Hanagami, a trifecta of plant-based Brush Gods, Sakigami, Tsutagami, and Hasugami. When you get their power, drawing a circle around a dead tree, scribbling over a miniature cursed zone, or painting a dot on fertile ground yields Bloom, drawing a line connecting a Konohana Blossom to something makes a Vine (inverted in the sequel), and drawing circles on water creates Lilypads for you to Walking on Water.
    • Magical Starsign's Chai the Wood Mage.
    • Grass-type Pokémon are said to have these powers either by using built in plant features or creating/manipulating plants around them. They also tend to specialize in Standard Status Effects and learn lots of moves that poison, paralyze, or put opponents to sleep, rather than dealing lots of direct damage.
      • Kanto gym leader Erika, Sinnoh Gym Leader Gardenia, and Unova Gym Leader Cilan all specialize in Grass-type pokemon.
    • Bloodline Champions has a bloodline called the Thorn. Against the usual characterization of these powers, Thorns are monsters who've twisted plants to serve them in their attacks.
    • The Mega Man game series had Wood Man, a wooden robot who used leaves both as shields and as weapons. His concept was recycled with Plant Man in 6.
    • Konoha from the Arcana Heart video games.
    • Touhou has several examples:
      • Yuka Kazami. Do not hurt any of the flowers she controls. Just. Don't.
      • Wood is one of the elements that Patchouli is able to use.
      • Suwako Moriya has it as a part of her Dishing Out Dirt package.
    • In City of Heroes, Controllers and Dominators have access to the Plant Control power set, which ultimately allows for the creation of a healing tree and a walking fly trap.
    • Marluxia from Kingdom Hearts.
    • Druids in World of Warcraft have several plant-based spells, including, but not limited to, entangling roots, growing thorns over their bodies, summoning treants, or turning into them with a boost to their healing spells.
      • Balance Druids, in particular, focus on this trope. Cataclysm expands this with exploding Magic Mushrooms that leave behind fungus that slows enemies. Restoration druids get to grow healing plants as a side effect of their spells.
      • Anyone with the Herbalism skill has access to a haste-increasing ability which causes flowers to sprout around them.
    • Naturally, WarCraft III Druids (particularly the hero version, the Keeper of the Grove).
      • Two heroes in Defense of the Ancients are tree-themed, Rooftrellen and The Prophet. Rooftrellen has abilities that make teammates invisible when they are near trees, plant trees that give sight, wrap allies in protective regenerative plants, and summon vines to disable all enemies in an area, while The Prophet can teleport to any tree on the map, summon treants, and snare an enemy in a ring of trees.
    • The Chloromancer, one of the Mage sub-classes of Rift, is built around using the Plane of Life to conjure plants. While most of their magic is weak, through the use of "Veils" they convert most of the damage they deal, if not more, into healing to people around them, making them incredibly powerful group healers.
    • Tytree Crowe in Tales of Rebirth possesses the Force of Plant, which he sometimes uses during his artes.
    • Being pacted to the Mana of Trees allows Nikki of Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis to use plant-based attacks, including her Finishing Move.
    • Geomancers in the Final Fantasy series. In some games, they are a fair class. In others, they are out-and-out Game Breakers.
    • In Secret of Mana, both the girl and the sprite learn a few nature-based spells from Dryad, the Tree Spirit.
      • Hawk's Wanderer class in Seiken Densetsu 3 is a good example because he can learn all of Dryad's spells but one. Incidentally, he can also learn all but one of Lunacy's spells.
      • Instruments endowed with Dryad's power.
    • The Golden Sun series lumps this in with the earth element. Matthew, the hero of the third game is set to be the first to have plant bases spells in his default class.
    • Despite appearing to be an ice magic-user, Eifer Skute of Rosenkreuzstilette actually manipulates plants and flora.
    • Anegakoji Yoritsuna from Sengoku Basara is an Ineffectual Loner who lives in the forest due to his dislike of other samurai. His powers include dropping huge tree limbs on his opponent.
    • While Dalish Keepers didn't have unique spells in Dragon Age Origins, in the expansion, Awakening and Dragon Age II, Velanna and Merrill, respectively, have special spell trees (no pun intended) that fall into this category. While the effects were somewhat simplistic in Velanna's case, with increased nature damage and attacking roots featuring prominently, Merrill's Keeper spells include powerful AoE spells that inflict nature damage, gaining health from the damage inflicted by the previously mentioned spell (even if she's using blood magic at the time), and teleporting with roots.
    • Kid Icarus: Uprising has Viridi, the goddess of nature. It also provides a very extreme example with her Fantastic Nukes called Reset Bombs, which are intended to turn areas to their original plant-covered state.

    Web Comics

    • The webcomic Bob the Angry Flower has Plantae, a supervillain whose plant control powers are useless because plants can't move. Only Bob is truly susceptible to his control, and even that is hit-or-miss.
    • Ysengrin from Gunnerkrigg Court.
    • Minus uses it here and here. Though, being a Reality Warper, that's hardly the limit of her powers.
    • Soveshei and Veithel of Juathuur. The latter actually turns into a tree!. And Merlu, the god-in-the-tree.
    • Phyll from Godquest is the God of Plants and the Home, so this comes naturally to him.
    • Wayward Sons: Metre.

    Web Original

    • Hanami of Tasakeru wields the Mage Flower, which can grow pretty much anything, anywhere, in any shape. In a subversion of Reed Richards Is Useless (as mentioned above), she provides much-needed food for the other Outcasts.
    • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe: superheroes Ivy, Verdant, Gardemer. Junglemaster, Archdruid, Forrestal, and the supervillain Kiku can all cause plants to grow and move as they wish.

    Western Animation

    • Darkwing Duck villain Reginald Bushroot, who is a pastiche of various Green Thumb supervillains, mainly Poison Ivy and Floronic Man.
    • Spoofed in an episode of Rugrats, in which, while imagining themselves as a Five-Man Band, Tommy's power was to talk to pants. About as What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? as you can get there.
    • Waterbenders in Avatar: The Last Airbender possess the ability to manipulate plants by bending the water within them, unofficially dubbed "plantbending", though only one person (Huu) has been shown using it. It ranks low on the lameness scale on the basis of the main practitioner using it to form a humongous organic mecha which he operates from within, using entangling vines and brute force on his enemies.
    • Major Disaster from Toxic Crusaders could not only control plants of the organism variety, but, in one episode, power plants as well.
    • The power of the titular character in A Troll in Central Park.
    • Danny Phantom's enemy, Undergrowth.
    • Ben 10's Wildvine and Swampfire.
    • Cornelia and Kadma in WITCH can do this; it comes naturally with being the Guardian of Earth. Cornelia thinks this ability is lame at first (at least, compared to her earth-moving powers), but learns to love it once she is able to grow flowers the size of skyscrapers.
    • Winx Club has the appropriately-named Flora.
      • In Season 4, we also meet another nature fairy named Diana; she is one of the Earth fairies that was imprisoned by the Fairy Hunters.
    • Wakfu: Princess Amalia Sheran Sharm and her whole race, the Sadida, have powers over plants, being themselves Plant People. They can put it to a great variety of uses, including battles by creating large and fast-moving cluster of vines to strangle or crush their enemies.
    • In the Justice League two-parter "Twilight", one of the children of New Genesis was having trouble working in the garden, complaining that it was difficult. High Father explains the virtue of hard work by accelerating the growth of the plant she was tending.
    • When the true Princess in The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland revives dying plants, it's in a shower of Sparkles.