Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Krynoids
Video - The Seeds of Doom
The Seeds of Doom

 Name: The Krynoids

 Format: Television Show, Audio and Book

 Time of Origin: Unspecified planet of origin, but arrived on Earth approximately twenty thousand years in the past; encountered The Doctor in the 1970s and some unspecified date in the mid-twenty-first century; appeared on Trenzalore in the distant future.

 Appearances: "The Seeds of Doom",  "Hothouse" and "Tales of Trenzalore: An Apple a Day..."

 Doctors: Fourth Doctor, Eighth Doctor and Eleventh Doctor

 Companions: Sarah Jane Smith and Lucie Miller

 History: A race of sentient plants, the Krynoids are highly dangerous, although relatively little is known about them as they tend to kill anyone who tries to study them, The Doctor describing them as intergalactic weeds that mutated other vegetation. Capable of infecting biological organisms and channelling its power through other plants, as well as mentally controlling animals, the Krynoids were capable of taking control of whole planets if not destroyed while they were still sufficiently under-developed, travelling through space as pairs of pods, capable of tolerating heat or cold, although extremes of either could be damaging. At their peak, they had an undefined anatomy, without any front or back, and could grow at a rapid rate, initially absorbing animal matter before relying on conventional photosynthesis as they reached maturity, as well as absorbing nitrogen from the air without the need for roots.

Video - The Seeds of Doom
The Seeds of Doom (VHS)
 To reproduce, the Krynoid released a long shoot that would grab any creature that came too close to the pod, turning the other creature into a Krynoid (The Doctor speculated that this stage of the transformation could be averted if the limb grabbed by the shoot was amputated, but this theory is untested). The transformation began as the victim's skin turned plant-like in colour and texture, soon assuming the appearance of something covered in tendrils. Eventually, all but the basic shape of the lifeform was lost under a mass of green, vegetable growths, with the subject's body temperature and pulse rate dropping severely as plant bacteria, such as schizophytes, appeared in the bloodstream while the Krynoid took over the host's mind. By the time the body had completely changed into vegetation, the host's mind had given way to the Krynoid sentience, although the subject was still initially sedate due to the shock of the transformation. During this early period, the animal-Krynoid hybrid was desperate for warmth and protein, which it absorbed as it converted its host, growing larger as it ate.

 A Krynoid seed came to Earth and crash-landed in the Antactic approximately twenty thousand years ago (The Doctor speculated that the pods were shot into space by internal explosions from the turbulent environment of their homeworld). After lying dormant for millennia, unable to grow in its current environment but sustained by its naturally robust nature, the pods were discovered during an Antarctic expedition by the World Ecology Bureau, resulting in one pod mutating one of the expedition members. During a visit to Earth, the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith learned about the expedition and decided to investigate the pod for themselves ("The Seeds of Doom"), with The Doctor quickly identifying it as a Krynoid.

 While The Doctor and Sarah investigated events in the Antarctic, unscrupulous politician Richard Dunbar revealed the existence of the Krynoids to psychotic botanist Harrison Chase, a millionaire plant enthusiast. Chase's fanatical desire to 'protect the plant life of mother Earth' was so extreme that he appeared to value the lives of plants more highly than the lives of people, playing music to his plants on an electric organ and commenting that he admired their beauty, colours and sensitivity while showing very little of those qualities himself. His mansion also possessed a unique plant laboratory that included a compost acceleration machine that could crush a human being and disperse his remains into the garden in around twenty-five minutes. With this background, Chase was naturally interested in acquiring a Krynoid for himself, sending his own men to recover a second Krynoid pod and plant bombs to destroy the expedition's base. Fortunately, The Doctor and Sarah were able to escape before the bombs went off, with the original Krynoid being destroyed in the destruction of the base, but that still left Chase in possession of the second pod.

 Having traced the pod to Chase, The Doctor and Sarah infiltrated his mansion, but were subsequently caught by his guards. Chase's fixation on the Krynoid was so great that he actively attempted to force Sarah to touch the Krynoid simply to see what would happen if the plant came in contact with human flesh even when his own men expressed reluctance at what he was planning to do. Although The Doctor was able to save Sarah, Chase's botanist, Arnold Keeler, was exposed to the Krynoid in the process, Chase actually tying Keeler up just to watch him mutate as he was fed with raw meat. As The Doctor and Sarah raced to stay ahead of the Krynoid while trapped in the mansion, Chase eventually came under the influence of the Krynoid, but this had little real impact on his overall personality, aside from him actively declaring his hatred of humanity rather than his previously expressed appreciation for plants and relative indifference towards humans. With the aid of UNIT, the Krynoid was finally destroyed by a bombing run by the RAF, The Doctor and Chase's final struggle ending when Chase fell into his own plant-feeder.

Audio - Hothouse
(Jonathan Morris)
On a later occasion, the Eighth Doctor found himself dealing with another Krynoid seed-pod as his first adventure when he was reunited with the TARDIS and his companion Lucie Miller after spending several years stuck on the peaceful artificially-created planet of Orbis ("Orbis"), The Doctor currently experiencing a sense of detachment from humanity due to his long period of isolation from humanoid species, regarding humans as overly complacent and unwilling to take responsibility for the future ("Hothouse"). Despite his current apathy, The Doctor agreed to assist UNIT and the World Ecology Bureau in their investigation of environmental group the League of Nature, an extreme organisation that favoured population reduction and other measures 'necessary' to save the world, led by former musician Alex Marlowe, with his companion Lucie infiltrating the League to provide UNIT with inside information.

 Unfortunately, Lucie was subsequently captured by Marlowe while searching one of his Biodomes, but she was able to provide The Doctor with enough information to determine that Marlowe had acquired Krynoid samples, later revealed to have been acquired from cuttings that remained of Chase's Krynoid after its destruction, salvaged and studied so that new anti-Krynoid measures could be developed only to be stolen from the UN a few years ago. Using these samples, Marlowe was attempting to engineer a new strain of Krynoid that would cause the physiological changes induced by the Krynoid infection to still take place, including granting the power to control plants, while keeping the victim's original consciousness intact, infecting various immigrants who fled to the UK looking for work as the environment broke down.

 Unfortunately, even with Marlow attempting to force The Doctor to help him, the project was a failure as the mutation was too powerful for the human mind to retain control, instead producing a Krynoid with a far higher metabolism than normally, completing its growth in an hour rather than the traditional day. Fortunately, the new Krynoid strain had an unexpected weakness in that high-pitched sounds, rather than just causing it pain, allowed the victim's consciousness to re-assert itself for a brief period, allowing The Doctor and Lucie to appeal to the human within the Krynoid by encouraging her to draw on her hatred of Marlow for what he had done to her. With the human consciousness trapping the Krynoid in one of the Biodomes, The Doctor modified the Biodome's environment to increase the heat and essentially duplicate the Greenhouse Effect, the Krynoid killing the deranged Marlow with its last moment of human control before the biodome exploded. The resulting fire damaged the surrounding forest due to the lack of recent rain, but the encounter still helped The Doctor remember why he appreciated humanity; their refusal to give up when faced with the likes of Marlow.

 The Doctor found himself facing the Krynoids once again during the Siege of Trenzalore, when The Doctor discovered that Trenzalore was the location of a crack in reality that would allow the Time Lords to return to this universe, leaving him trapped on Trenzalore as various races wanted the planet destroyed to prevent the return of the Time Lords - and thus potentially start the Time War all over again - but couldn't force The Doctor to leave in case he spoke his name and released them ("The Time of The Doctor"). While the Krynoid seed-pods were naturally able to pass through the anti-technology barrier around Trenzalore, one pod fortunately remained dormant due to Trenzalore's permanently snowy environment, but the other landed in a nearby greenhouse that the residents of Christmas used to grow fruit and vegetables, swiftly taking the greenhouse caretaker as its 'host'. Although The Doctor was unable to stop the Krynoid from achieving its full growth, he was able to defeat it by using its continued vulnerability to cold, having the residents of Christmas hurl snowballs at it while it tried to climb the church-tower to reach The Doctor as he stood on the top, slowing it down enough for the residents to attack it with a rapidly-freezing hose The Doctor had recently created. With the Krynoid now frozen solid, The Doctor rang the church bell, the resulting sonic vibrations shattering the Krynoid and eliminating it for good ("An Apple a Day...").

Examining the Pod
Examining the Pod
Becoming a Krynoid
Becoming a Krynoid
Escaping from the Krynoid
Escaping from the Krynoid
The Krynoid
The Krynoid Full Size
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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