There is a sound like the crinkling of aluminum foil as the scytheflower slowly unfurls its petals. The stem flexes and they turn to face the rising sun, the petals angling to best catch the light. The plant’s leaves make use of sunlight for photosynthesis, but the mix of metallic elements in the petals allow it to produce energy more directly as they heat up throughout the day.
The energy produced by the living thermocouple is difficult to store, but it still contributes to the scytheflower’s sustenance. The silvery sheen on the surface of the petals as they twitch in the sun has been designed by evolution to catch the eyes of birds in flight, a trait which helps give the scytheflower some of its other names: magpiercer and crow-murderer.
Down swoops a blackbird, attracted by the shiny flash of the flower. There’s the whining whir of a buzzsaw and a brief, aborted squawk. The bird’s carcass will feed the soil, which feeds the plant.
Though its metallic petals are valued by collectors, the scytheflower is best approached with care, or not at all.