In the novel, after much of the world’s population is blinded by a comet shower, the triffids, originating in the tropics and latterly sought after for their oil, break free from the farms in which they were secured and set about bringing civilisation to an end. Their highly toxic stingers kill instantly.
A nightmarish work, the book’s skin-prickling descriptions of an eerie, silent, corpse-littered London slowly decaying and returning to nature are as haunting as the frenzied attacks visited upon humans by the grotesque triffids. The novel was filmed in 1962 and televised in 1981 and 2009. The word “triffid” has since become cultural shorthand for any towering or menacing-looking foliage.