A Hortus is a carnivorous flowering plant that roams the swamp, using animated roots to stalk prey. Each Hortus has a thick trunk at its base from which extends four braches it uses like arms. It uses the appendages to slam opponents, batter down obstacles, or draw victims to its body where they are digested over a period of 24 hours by hairy nettles on its front trunk that exude digestive enzymes. Three stalks extend upward from the trunk body, the central acting as a neck of sorts with a brown headlike bulb sitting atop. The two other stalks flank the central stalk and end in purple flowers similar to a passion flower in form.

A Hortus has immense patience and can creep toward the unwary, using its fatal sting to render its victims prone to digestion. Once fed to capacity, a Hortus flower releases white gossamer seeds into the air. A single Hortus sprout germinates to size Medium in just four hours. At this stage the creature is perfectly capable of using its mobility, stinger and digestion, but it lacks sufficient Strength to slam. It takes another week for the plant to mature to Large size.

Sometimes a pack of animals or group of people wanders into a grove of these plant monsters and succumb to their deadly tastes. In these rare instances, a wave of Horti (plural) may grow and begin rampaging en masse. Luckily, the Hortus is a favorite food of the local elasmosaurus dinosaurs, so such rampages are usually brief.

Hortus plants use their stingers to subdue a target. If this attack fails, the stinger whip cannot be used again for 1d4 rounds as it retracts. Instead, it uses its woody branches to slam opponents to death.

Fire and electricity do triple damage to a Hortus. Physical contact with a cup of sugar water is deadly to a Hortus, causing 2d8 points of damage. Other species of this plant are known to have other similar types of vulnerabilities.

Chemical Language (Ex): A Hortus can exude simple pheromone messages to other Horti within a 100-ft. radius, presuming the winds are light, favorable, or absent altogether. Single ideas, such as “danger”, “food,” “help,” “fire,” “attack” and so on, may be communicated via their chemical language.

Poison Stinger (Ex): A Hortus has a poisonous stinger at the end of a whiplike tongue that flicks out of a knobby, serrated protrusion near its top. A successful hit with this stinger renders the victim unconscious if a Fortitude save (DC 15) fails. Medium sized Hortus have a less effective stinger poison (DC 12). Huge plants have a more powerful poison (DC 18).

Blindsense (Ex): Hortus can see by emitting low-frequency sound waves that allow them to locate objects and creatures within 120 feet. A silence spell negates this echolocation and effectively blinds any Hortus within the spell area.

Regeneration (Ex): If a Hortus loses a limb or other major body part, the lost portion regrows in 4d4 rounds. The disaffected limb withers and disintegrates in that same time period (as does a completely dead Hortus).

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