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"Science fiction is what scientists would do if they could - if they had enough grant money, enough time, and enough brains to do the wonderful things they would like to do."
- Greg Bear

Dumbler  
  Half-sentient spores of the whistle thistle.  

Lily-yo climbed astride the hooked base of the dumbler, whispering softly to it… The tips of their feathered spokes carried seeds; the seeds were strangely shaped, so that a light breeze whispering in them made them into ears that listened to every advantage of the wind that would spread their propagation. Humans, after long years of practice, could use these crude ears for their own purposes…
Technovelgy from Hothouse, by Brian Aldiss.
Published by Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1962
Additional resources -

Compare to the treeship from the 1989 Dan Simmons novel Hyperion and to the dray-fish from Jack Vance's brilliant 1976 short story The Moon Moth.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Hothouse
  More Ideas and Technology by Brian Aldiss
  Tech news articles related to Hothouse
  Tech news articles related to works by Brian Aldiss

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