The Flower of Life was "discovered" by a fledgling space-faring humanoid race. A young Tirolian explorer and scientist named Zor, after realizing the Invid were not utilizing the immense potential of the Flower, decided to take it for himself. Zor discovered how to unlock the secret held within the flower, and harnessed its magnificent energy. Protoculture was developed and the advanced science later known as Robotech was born. With this newfound power, the Tirolians, now known as the Robotech Masters developed a massive war machine and became the dominant force in the galaxy.
In an act of caliousness that would later prove to be shortsighted, the Masters attempted to steal all of the Flowers of Life from the Invid, razed their world, forcing the surviving Invid to flee. Protoculture and the Flowers of Life would be the motivation for a series of galactic wars, some involving the Invid who evolved their technology and arms after being driven from their original homeworld.
CharacteristicsEditThe Flower of Life is a parastic plant capable of growing in numerous environments. While little is known about the ancestral and related plants of the Flower of Life, this plant is reasonably well-understood. The Flower of Life a multi-staged organism, beginning its existence as a spore, carried by wind or water by a parasol-like sail. The spore is in fact a miniature clump of already-specialized cells, waiting to find fertile ground in which to take root. Most spores will not survive to grow, but those that do can thrive in a wide range of soils and humidities - though the plants thrive best in swampy terrain, but also do well in temperate climes with favorable rain and wet soil.
When the spore takes root in the ground, like a dandelion, or in water, where it grows more in the fashion of the lotus, the plant begins to grow. Thin green leaves sprout from a central stem which branches out into numerous fibrous limbs. The plant's energy and food supply comes from photosynthesis, and its photosynthetic organelles are almost identical to Earth's chloroplasts. The plant fares best in Earth-like light, which explains when it does rather poorly on worlds lit by cooler red stars, or worlds with bluer suns with spectra rich in ultra-violet radiation.
MorphologyEditThe plant's morphology depends upon the medium in which it grows. In water, the plant becomes a 'floater', with specialized roots and large flat leaves to keep the plant afloat. As it matures, the plant eventually becomes a tall spire of flower-studded vines, rising three to five meters above the water, with a root system that extends deep under the surface of the water to keep the plant upright. On ground, the plant develops fibrous stalks that center around a thick but soft trunk. The direction a plant takes once it sprouts from a spore is not completely fixed. If a plant that begins in water experiences drought conditions that cause its medium to dry up, or if it is taken from water and transplanted to land, it will soon begin to grow in a fashion identical to that it would have taken had it first taken root on land. A plant that grew on land, however, is limited in its ability to adapt to water should it get flooded - the only change in its growth is to develop specialized water-roots on those parts of the trunk and branches that lie underwater.
After a year of growth in either medium, the plant is ready to flower. Pink-and-white blooms begin to open up on numerous branches (the most common variety, and specifically bred by Zor himself, has flowers that grow in groups of three). Each flower has numerous stamens (usually five to ten) growing from the base of the flower and outside the petals, and a single pistil inside them. The plant is not self-pollinating; that is, the pollen from a flower's stamen can not fertilize a pistil on the same plant. Pollen is carried from plant to plant by a symbiotic species; in nature, the Invid serve in this capacity. The stamens themselves are prehensile, and are attracted to the approach of any warm-bodied organism, toward which they reach and upon which they rub their pollen. In addition to the need for another organism to carry the stamens' pollen, the pistil is non-responsive to pollination until it is activated by pheromones released by its symbiotic pollinator.
The Flower of Life appeared in Robotech: The Masters and was featured prominently in later episodes of the series, serving as the thread that tied Robotech (series) together. It was a semi-sentient flower that grew as a triumvirate, reflecting the mysterious relationship between protoculture and the number three.
The final battle of the Second Robotech War saw the defeat of the Robotech Masters leadership, but also the release of the the spores of the Flower of Life across the surface of Earth, where they took root and began to grow at an accelerated rate. This sudden, unexpected outcome made inevitable the invasion of Earth by the Invid, which in turn triggered the Third Robotech War.
Flower of Life SongEdit
Come--let me show you
Our common bond
It's the reason that we live
Flower--let me hold you
We depend upon
The power that you give
We should protect the seeds
Or we will all fade away
Flower of Life
Flower of Life
- Robotech was itself an English-language storyline constructed by Carl Macek to weave together three unrelated series of Japanese anime, and the plant that became the Flower of Life in Robotech featured prominently in the series Southern Cross Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross. Here, there was no protoculture (because that term came from the Macross portion of the animation), nor were there Invid (because they were adaptations of the Inbit from Genesis Climber MOSPEADA). The self-contained Japanese Southern Cross storyline instead cast the Flowers of Light, where they were called the Proto-Zor, as the source of bio-energy for a spacefaring race called the Zor (here a race and not a person).
- Historical Essay: Protoculture, the Invid, and the Flower of Life by Peter Walker with Aubry Thonon, Pieter Thomassen, and Robert Morgenstern
- Protoculture (Macross)
- The Nature of Protoculture by Mark Temple