Veriformans are a taxon of vascular plant visually similar to the elephant ear (although it is unknown if the two plants are evolutionarily related) which lived during the Cretaceous period. Presumably, it was cloned by InGen geneticists to add a more authentic feel to Jurassic Park. Very little is known about its paleobotanical history due to the fact that it is a fictional plant.
The name “veriforman” translates to “true form” from Latin. Dr. Ellie Sattler‘s use of the term suggests that the species belongs to a clade called Veriforma.
While only the leaf of the veriforman is seen, it is portrayed growing on plants several feet tall and with long, sturdy green stalks. The leaves themselves are broad, with a slightly serrated margin, and are roughly spade-shaped. They have reddish veins branching off of the center.
The growth rates of veriformans are not known. Each one most likely begins its life as a seed, but like its growth rate, the stages through which it grows are unknown at this time.
Some plants exhibit sexual dimorphism, but it is not known if veriformans do.
It is unknown where in the world the veriforman lived prior to its extinction in the Cretaceous period, but it must have coexisted with insects that drank its fluids in order for InGen to recreate it. As it flourishes near the Jungle River on tropical Isla Nublar, it can be concluded that its original habitat was in a wet, warm climate.
After its recreation at Jurassic Park, the veriforman grew in the southern region of Isla Nublar near the Jungle River‘s southwestern reach. It is unknown if it grew anywhere else, but it may have been present in some herbivore paddocks as both decoration and a source of food.
It is unknown if any survived until 2015, as none were identified at that time. If any did survive, or were created again, they would likely have been present in Jurassic World‘s Botanical Gardens. It is most likely that they became extinct during the June 23, 2018 volcanic eruption of Mount Sibo.
It is unknown if any veriformans were cloned on Isla Sorna, though it is likely that they were; however, there is no evidence that they were ever introduced to the wild there, or that they survived after the island was abandoned.
Behavior and Ecology
Most plants perform photosynthesis during the day, and rest at night. Some plants may utilize crassulacean acid metabolism (a process by which carbon dioxide is obtained during the night to avoid loss of water). It is not known if CAM is used by veriformans.
Diet and Feeding Behavior
Like the majority of plants, veriformans most likely gain much of the nutrition they need from photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide and water are obtained by the plant, typically through microscopic pores in the leaves called stomata. Light energy is used to produce carbohydrates; oxygen is also produced as a waste product.
The specific nutritional requirements of veriformans are unknown.
While many plants interact with one another using chemical signalling, it is not known if the veriforman utilizes any such method.
In the Cretaceous period, flowering plants had first begun to evolve along with numerous animals that assist in pollination. However, it is not known if veriformans are flowering plants, or if they used more primitive methods to disperse their seeds.
Most plant species use hormones and other chemical signals to communicate. It is not known what kind of signals veriformans may use to communicate with one another, or with other species.
It is known that some insects fed on the fluids of this plant species during the Cretaceous period, as this is how InGen would obtain its DNA. However, it is not known if any modern insects favor this plant. It may have provided food to herbivores in the form of its large leaves, but none are depicted feeding on it.
Jurassic World’s greenhouses were supplied with fertilizer made from herbivorous dinosaur dung, such as that of Brachiosaurus. If the plant still existed by 2004, it would have been grown in soil fertilized with the dung of these animals.
Relationship to Humans
While paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler marveled at the existence of this Cretaceous plant, most of the guests in Jurassic Park found the de-extinct animals to be more fascinating. Even Dr. Sattler did not mention the plant again after encountering the Park’s dinosaurs.
Humans would have had to care for the plant after bringing it back from extinction; like many of the animals, InGen would not immediately have known how to properly provide for it. As a result, it is highly likely that the plant often suffered under inadequate care. If it was still alive when Jurassic World was constructed, it would have been housed in the Botanical Gardens. With more experience and information available to them, Jurassic World’s staff would have been better equipped to care for the veriformans until the park was shut down in late 2015.
Behind the Scenes
In the original Jurassic Park script, this plant was referred to as a “vermiform,” a word which means “worm-like” and also does not match any real plant species. The name was changed to “veriforman” in the final film, possibly in reference to Serenna veriformans being used in the novel. The species S. veriformans is a real species of fossil fern, though it is from the Triassic rather than the Cretaceous like the fictional veriforman; in addition, the veriforman is an angiosperm rather than a fern.
The Jurassic World official website’s page on the botanical gardens mentions a Jurassic vermiform as one of its floral inhabitants, likely a reference to the older Jurassic Park script.