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"[Science fiction is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

Desert Cabbage  
  A giant plant that regulates its internal temperature even on Mars.  

Very handy for lost travelers.

"Jim boy come here. Frank come here. Cold there. Warm here."

"...we can't go inside a cabbage It would crush us."

"Do as you like, Jim. I can't skate any farther." He set one foot on a broad leaf - which flinched under the contact - and strode steadily..."

Willis greeted them ecstatically. "Good boy, Frank! Good boy, Jim! Stay nice and warm all night."

The Sun was slipping behind a distant dune; the sunset wind whipped coldly at them. The far edges of the plant lifted and began to curl toward them... The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves. Such a leaf, four feet wide at its widest and at least ten feet long, raised up in back of Jim and curved in until it touched his shoulder...

With elbows and knees and hands the two managed to occupy a roughly spherical space about five feet across and a little less than that high. The leaves closed down on them, seemed to feel them out, then settled firmly against them... Soon the last open space was covered and they were in total darkness.

From Red Planet, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Scribner in 1949
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Desert Cabbage-related news articles:
  - Earth Skunk Cabbage And Martian Desert Cabbage

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