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"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
- Larry Niven

Life Blanket  
  Sentient moss which, when draped over the shoulders of a human being, becomes fully self-aware, providing valuable services.  

On a distant planet circling Sigma Draco, vegetation strained towards self-awareness.

For the aeons before the human beings came to this twilight world, the life blankets had dragged out a humdrum existence...

When the humans came, however, the blankets finally clicked. Between them and the men of Earth grew up a perfect mutual agreement, a highly profitable and agreeable form of symbiosis...

For the man who wore one of them, like a cloak around his shoulders, need never worry where a meal was coming from; knew furthermore, that he would be fed correctly, with a scientific precision that automatically counterbalanced any upset of metabolism that might be brought about by alien conditions...

The moment one of the blankets wrapped itself around a man it became, in a sense, the double of that man. It shared his intelligence and emotions...

From Ogre, by Clifford Simak.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1944
Additional resources -

Here's what its like for the life blankets when they are left to their own devices, with no human being to care for:

...he waddled out of the trading post upon his own high lonesome, flapping awkwardly along, like a sheet billowing in the breeze.

Life blankets had other useful properties, like being able to heal some wounds in their hosts. They could also communicate with other plants to some extent.

These were predecessors of the hunting robes from his more famous 1961 novel Time is the Simplest Thing.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Ogre
  More Ideas and Technology by Clifford Simak
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