The general phylogeny of crystal flora is as follows:
Taxon Naming Conventions
Crystal flora have their own set of taxon suffixes that are recommended for new crystal taxa.
*: The genus suffix -ite is optional.
The anatomy consists of an external photosynthesizing "cuticle" made of chitin, while the inside consist of red fungus-like tissue.
The term "crystal" in "crystal flora" refers only to their shape. Crystal flora do not refract light like real crystals, and their interior is usually opaque.
Crystal flora adapt to heat and light. Some species have been known to change color to absorb, reflect or conserver energy better like the massive Crystal Solar Tower.
Breathing and Blood
Diet & Energy
Crystal flora are mixotrophs just like plents. They get their energy from external resources using mycelium-like roots, as well as photosynthesis. There was one oddity, the wave crystal, which used kinetic energy collected from the waves. However, calling it an "oddity" is not quite accurate. A singularly unique organism is a better descriptor, as the wave crystal was one of only two "kinetivores" in Sagan 4 history.
The first true crystal flora, the Binucleus Crystal Shrub, appeared in the Huggian period. Early crystal flora such as this could change color depending on lighting conditions, such as being red in deep waters like Earth's red algae. Early on, in the Ovian period, it produced interlocking coastal forms, but these quickly became extinct as a result of an impact event. In the Krakowian period, the most ancient branch of crystal flora still alive, the Binucleus Pyamuses, split off. The Crystal Korals, ancestors of modern korystals, split off in the Rhodixian Period.In the Irinyan Period, the first hollow crystal, the Binucleus Hollow Crystal, evolved, abruptly sparking the invasion of the Glicker supercontinent and soon producing gigantic forms. Around the same time, pyamuses invaded the hydrothermal vent systems. However, back on land, crystals would remain mostly in the background compared to the faster-growing tree plents and purple flora which had already been established for millions of years prior. The earliest river crystals, which were hollow crystals which stayed more tied to water, appeared in the Ladymian period. The more competitive crystal weeds and crystal shoots first appeared in the Russian period.
In the Nukean period, fruiting, tree-like crystal flora derived from the crystal shoots invaded the landscape, beating a path through purple flora and tree plents using the destructive chemicals common to all crystal weeds. Meanwhile, Ice Crystals derived from more basal hollow crystals invaded the northern polar regions, though their presence was less destructive. The would continue to diversify into the Biocatian period, also during which the more ancient crystals of the coastline evolved poison. Terrestrial crystals and coastal crystals would continue to diversify as time went on. The Gateway Shrub, derived from the poisonous aquatic forms, appeared in the Allenian period.
Post-Gamma Ray Burst
The gamma ray burst mid-way through the Martykian period wiped out the giant tower-like crystals, the derived fruit-bearing crystal trees, and many of the coastal crystals. Coastal crystals quickly bounced back, and from them appeared the Ghost Crystal and the first Phytodiamond. While more primitive crystal trees survived, the reign of highly competitive crystal weeds had ended, at least for now, especially as the Crystal Rootgrass appeared in the Rabidian and outcompeted its toxic cousins. More generic forms of hollow crystals would continue to evolve, dotting Glicker's landscape while purple flora reigned. Meanwhile, coastal crystals would also produce kinetitrophic forms, and pyamuses would diversify somewhat in the deep sea.
Crystal grasses would also produce Scuttlecrab Crystals, which grew upon a branch of scuttlecrabs.
Another odd offshoot of crystals was evolving from descendants of the ice crystals, however. In the Somanian period, an odd branch would emerge from the ice caves which evolved the ability to survive uprooted, bumble around in the wind, and adjust its own position using fluid pumps. These became the Tumble Crystals, which were motile, albeit very slow. They, and many other kinds of large crystal, would not last long, however.
Post-Ice CometThe ice comet at the start of the Raptorian period was massively devastating to flora all over Sagan 4, as debris from the impact event blocked sunlight and caused everything over 1 meter to die. Crystal flora were not immune to this and suffered heavy losses, as the tumble crystals, the remaining crystal trees, most pyamuses, and countless basal hollowcrystals and coastal crystals vanished. In the aftermath, in the seas and rivers, surviving phytodiamonds, korystals, and pyamuses diversified rapidly in the aftermath, while on land the scuttlecrab crystal branch would also evolve as their hosts did. But for sessile terrestrial crystals, a very different story was unfolding.
Crystal shoots, which retained the destructive chemicals of earlier crystal weeds, had survived the impact event, and in its aftermath, the reign of destructively competitive crystals returned with a vengeance. A new lineage, the Cellulosebane Crystals, rose to prominence. Unlike previous crystal weeds which only suppressed the growth of competing flora, the cellulosebanes killed them outright to make way for their offspring by filling the air with spores laced with cellulase. This was devastating to the purple flora of the region which had survived the initial impact event, and it also killed motile faunal plents because cellulose was an important component in their skin, effectively vastly worsening the local effects of the mass extinction event. While some plents would manage to avoid the raining death-enzymes, anywhere where cellulosebanes lived, the purple flora were completely purged. This led to crystal flora coming to rule Drake after the Glicker supercontinent broke up in the Biglian period. However, in Darwin, which is the other half of Glicker, the less competitive crystal grasses would be chipped away at by the rise of fungibanes, a similarly hyper-competitive branch of black flora.
Some time before the ice age, a plague caused the extinction of all crystals in marine environments, wiping most basal coastal crystals.
Ice Age and Snowball
The ice age, and the snowball event at its climax, resulted in the extinctions of countless crystal flora, but most groups made it through with at least one survivor, with even basal coastal crystals managing to make it through. Basal crystal grasses were wiped out, leaving only the ones growing upon the backs of now highly derived scuttlecrab symbiotes. However, in the midst of the worst of the ice age, an entirely new kind of crystal also appeared seemingly out of nowhere--the Terrace Crystals. The ghost crystals of the caverns below the surface had, apparently, retained the genes for photosynthesis from their ancestors, which allowed them to resurface and become a second lineage of terrestrial photosynthetic crystals. Additionally, with the sea levels dropped so dramatically due to global glaciation, pyamuses were able to emerge from the deep sea vents and feed from the productive shallow waters of the coast, completely skipping the deep sea they would have had to pass through otherwise.
Near the end of the snowball event, the bane-free Creeping Crystals evolved from the cellulosebanes, marking the beginning of what would become another major group of crystal flora.
Post-Snowball and Modern Crystals
Following the snowball event, as life recovered on Sagan 4, crystals re-diversified. Descendants of creeping crystals called Grovecrystals rapidly became the dominant flora in Darwin and Drake, but were also joined by descendants of the terrace crystal, the Pagoda Crystals. Some basal cellulosebanes remained, but microbes that protected other organisms from them kept them in check. Korystals also made the jump to land and became a prominent sight in the mountains of Darwin. In the seas, basal marine crystals reclaimed the coasts more or less globally, and phytodiamonds resumed dotting the ocean in the form of modern diaminets. In the Bonoian period, creeping crystals as a whole would see another burst of diversification as they produced grass-like forms on the supercontinent that's now called Wallace and extremely tree-like forms in Drake. This is where the diversity of crystal flora stands to this day.
Most crystal flora are immobile. One exception is the small line of crystals that lived in the tundra, they pumped antifreeze into various spikes on their bodies to weigh down one side and use gravity to slowly roll from one place to another.
Crystal flora reproduce by spores. The spores have 3 stages.The first stage involve individual cells called proto-spores combing with each other to make the second stage spore. The second stage the separate micro spores that makes up the symbiotic organism. The third stage being when they combined creating a lager macro spore that will then after rooting in self grow in to the full size Crystal flora.
One type of crystal flora, the crystal trees, pack their spores in "fruits" to be eaten by herbivores.
Crystal flora have limited sense. Simple heat and light detecting sense have evolved but nothing beyond what Earth plants possess. Having no central nerve system the the crystal flora have no need for complex senses.
The largest of the crystal flora is the Crystal Solar Tower. It grew up to be 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) tall. It was the second largest organism existing on Sagan IV, as well as the tallest.
Types of Crystal Flora
Marine crystals are the various most basal crystal flora still extant, which still resemble clusters of crystals like the original binucleus crystal shrub.
Diaminets are floating crystals which form net-like colonies.
Crystal shells are crystal flora which exist as the shell to an ancient branch of scuttlecrab.
Cellulosebanes constitute most living crystal flora on land. Truly monstrous bane-like forms still exist, but most living species are harmless.
Grovecrystals are harmless colonial cellulosebanes which sit on a segmented stalk. Many of them resemble trees and shrubs.
Swordgrasses are harmless colonial cellulosebanes which live similarly to grass, albeit mixotrophicly.
Ghost crystals are anatomically primitive crystals with no pigment which live in deep caverns.
Terrace crystals are an odd branch of ghost crystal which regained photosynthesis and live on land.
Korystals are mostly anatomically primitive crystals which do not photosynthesize, mostly living as decomposers.
Gigarystals are terrestrial korystals which are often relatively flat.
Pyamuses are ancient non-photosynthetic crystals which live as consumers in the sea.