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Poisoned Truth

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You wouldn’t think it to look at him, but Neville Longbottom was a much sought-after herbologist, even before he became a professor at Hogwarts. He would coax the rarest (and most difficult) plants into growing to spectacular heights; his vines would produce the most luscious fruit; he even solved the problem of the screaming Mandrakes, substituting Chinese Fleeceflower for the first year students’ lessons. His pièces de résistance were his self-carving pumpkins, grown with a predetermined shape, which graced the Great Hall during Halloween.

Neville never revealed how he conjured the plants into grandiose life, but his secrets were coveted by Potion Masters and herbologists world-wide.

When his Hydnellum peckii, or Devil’s Tooth fungus, drew acclaim, he thought nothing of his friend Luna Lovegood requesting an interview for an article to expound on his techniques. Of course, he hadn’t gone into much depth, but he hadn’t counted on Luna’s tenacity. Her penchant for conspiracy theories proved to be her undoing, and Neville’s secrets are still closely guarded.

Neville often thinks of Luna when he cultivates his ‘bleeding’ fungus. After all, mushrooms cannot manufacture haemoglobin; if they need blood as a spore transport mechanism, they must therefore get it from somewhere...