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POTW 19: Porphyrogennetos



Porphyrogennetos (noun): An honorific title given to sons and daughters born after their father became emperor of Byzantium, translates literally as "born in the purple."

Planet of the Week number nineteen is here, this time I played around with the coloration of the vegetation a bit more than usual. Since blue plants are almost certainly impossible (in terms of photosynthesis blue light is the "most nutritious," so to speak, so any organism using pigments that reflect blue light rather than absorb it for photosynthesis will almost certainly be ousted by competitors much like how green autotrophs on Earth dominated over the brown and red ones they competed with early in Earth's evolutionary history) I've gone with purple, because reds, yellows, and oranges are actually kind of difficult to distinguish from barren ground. I also added a little more detail to the stars in the background, just because I felt like it. I can't think of any good stories for this one, just that the purple vegetation is actually photosynthetic fungoids that have intriguing medicinal properties, and that this has led to the planet being legally protected from settlement or otherwise unauthorized visitation.
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Chromattix's avatar
Oh I know the disappointing sting of there being a lack of blue vegetation both in real life and in fiction :shakefist: Indeed blue light photons are too valuable to plants for them to waste by reflecting them back (in which case they'd be blue if they did) but I read somewhere that it could depend on what kind of star the planet orbits around too. A blue star that emits a greater proportion of blue light might encourage plants to turn blue as they might get "overloaded" if they were to absorb all this high-energy light wavelength. I heard that's why ours are green - our sun emits more green light than red or blue (taking only the three main colours into account) so to avoid over-burdening themselves, plants on earth chose to reject the most common light colour output from our sun - green light :nod:

Interestingly, the second most common plant colours on earth seem to be as far away from green as you can get. Reds, burgundy's, purples and pinks tend to show up in a lot of plants (not so much "wild" ones, but ornamental garden plants that are favoured for their unique foliage colours) I sometimes wonder how they manage to survive amongst more competitive green plants. It seems they mostly come from areas that aren't quite as sunny (forest floors for example). Cloest I've seen any plant come to blue would be the Blue Spruce tree (which appears in a pale, powder-blue colour) and certain kinds of succulents too. Granted these are only "blue" because of a waxy coating covering their leaves (which appear green when the blue waxy substance is scratched off)

An especially bright sun might even result in white or silver/grey plants, while a dim one would favour black/brown plants. Each of these exist on earth too, but once again - are extreme minorities from specific kinds of environments :nod: