Drax the Destroyer, Gamora the Warrior, Rocket the Squirrelly Weapons Expert, Yondu the Mohawked Whistler, and Star-Lord the Galactic Kevin Bacon. Suffice to say, the Guardians of the Galaxy are one awesome team, with some very impressive superpowers to boot. Given what they’ve been through lately, it is a good thing too. But of them all, there is one that stands tall as having the craziest abilities this side of Knowhere. It doesn’t take a Mantis to figure out who we’re thinking of — He is Groot!
While we have already dug up all the cool facts you didn’t know from Groot’s past, it only seems fitting to likewise explore all the super-powered tricks he has been hiding up his leaves. With Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and the galactic tour de force known as Baby Groot taking the world by storm one tiny yell at a time, you might think there is little left to learn about this woodland hero. Especially considering he seems like the least complicated member of these Cosmic Avengers. But you might just be blown over by how much he can accomplish with some bark, vines, and three simple words. Prepare to take root.
Here are the 15 Superpowers You Didn’t Know Groot Had.
Groot is one of the few known in existence to possess the power of dendrokinesis – the ability to control things made out of wood, living or dead. Just think of everything made out of wood around you at this very moment and realize that Groot could make it all attack you on a whim, or just as easily have it cook you dinner. That’s because as a skilled wood manipulator, he can psychokinetically create, shape, and command any wooden substance to do whatever he likes, whenever he likes. Just like Magneto, only with timber.
We first saw Groot put this power to use when he brought an entire forest to life. Ever since, he’s been calling upon his wooden surroundings to squash his foes and pull off some pretty awesome feats. He can even mutate wood by rearranging its DNA (yes, wood has DNA), which we’ll see him put to good use further down this list when a clown posse attacks or he needs to create an army of mini-Groots.
14. He Can Fly in Space
Anyone who doubts Groot has what it takes to star in his own movie obviously hasn’t read the amazing 2015 Groot solo comic. It’s lighthearted fare for all ages, with gorgeously playful artwork that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Sure, it takes some liberties with the character and muddles his backstory, but Marvel has been all over the place with this sentient tree ever since he first appeared as a villain conducting human experiments, so who cares. One of the cooler aspects of the book is our getting to see some of his rarely shown talents. Like surfing, interior design, and, most impressively, flying through space.
Spend some time with Groot and you’ll quickly realize that he’s easily distracted. So it should come as no surprise that while en route to rescue Rocket Racoon from a bounty hunter, he gets sidetracked by some neon smoke swirling outside his spacecraft. A bit more shocking, however, is that to investigate, he nonchalantly jettisons out of the spaceship and propels through the empty abyss towards its source (which ends up being the self-proclaimed guiding spirit of the universe, Numinus). The two takeaways here are 1) Groot doesn’t need oxygen to survive, which is par for the course with trees, and 2) he can maneuver in outer space however he sees fit, which is not as common among trees.
13. Bioluminosity (aka Make Things Glow)
Remember that scene in Guardians of the Galaxy when Groot spontaneously releases a firefly-like swarm of lights? It’s tough to say exactly what those winged balls of illumination were – insects, samaras, glowing spores – but one thing was for sure, Groot has the power to inherently generate light.
When the scene occurs, Drax comments, “Where did you learn to do that?” This is an in-joke, as this is an entirely new trick, one that Groot has never shown in the comics. However, for a while during the Guardian of the Galaxy’s third run, his body was depicted as being filled with bulbous, glowing orbs. This suddenly new bioluminescence anatomy is never explained or used in any meaningful way, but it does suggest, along with his glow show from the film, that like many species in nature, Groot is his own personal Lite Brite.
Like Richard Reeds or Stretch Armstrong, Groot can extend his limbs at will, able to shoot them out long distances or even reshape them into different forms. While he appears for the most part to be a tree-like humanoid, trunk and all, Groot also possesses the characteristics and makeup of vines. As such, he is able to manipulate his body in all sorts of crazy a manner, but he’s always pleasantly snap back to his original state when the job is done. As we all found out during the Guardians raid on the Dark Aster in the first film when he single-limbedly took out a troop of Ronan’s army.
The true unknown here is how far Groot can actually grow his limbs. In 2008’s Guardians of the Galaxy #7, he was shown extending them into the Cancerverse for what seemed like miles. So while Groot may appear like he is as stiff as a tree, test him and you’ll see just how flexible he can be.
11. Super Strength
Like pretty much all giant wooden behemoths, Groot is strong. But thanks to whatever suped-up fertilizer he was fed as a kid, he can flex his lumbering muscle with the strongest of heroes. Early on in his career, he could absorb wood to enhance his strength. Nowadays, he doesn’t have to rely on any wooden supplements and is naturally as strong as oak on steroids. Marvel’s Strength Scale ranks him off the charts with an incalculable might capable of lifting in excess of 100 tons. This all basically makes Groot the hired muscle of the Guardians of Galaxy.
For all the doubters out there, Groot has tallied up enough feats of strength to impress even the most hard fast of Draxs. When confronted with the Monster of Badoon, a cyborg beast strong enough to manhandle the Silver Surfer, Thing, and Colossus, Groot simply takes its head off in a single swipe. He has held up entire buildings with one hand, towed monsters the size of spaceships across dimensions, and even put Gladiator in his place. Even more impressively, on two separate occasions, he has delivered blows that knocked Thanos off his feet. Not bad for an emaciated looking tree.
1o. Genius Intellect
Groot may sound like a bumbling idiot who only knows three words and occasionally eats himself, but don’t let that dumb smirk on his face fool you; this walking, talking tree is a bonafide genius. All members of Groot’s race are exposed at a young age to highly advanced “Photonic Knowledge,” which is basically the equivalent of gaining the combined intellects of Albert Einstein, Yoda, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Apparently, of all his sentient tree-like brethren, Groot was top of his class.
During 2009’s Guardians of the Galaxy #17, the team has a run-in with the Inhuman supervillain and occasional hero Maximus the Mad. While joining forces to stop a fifty-zillion ton interdimensional space squid, Maximus reveals that not only does Groot come from “an ancient and ennobled sap-line” but “as befits the scion of an elite royal house, he has received the finest education from the most gifted tutors.” Granted Maximus is totally insane, but he seems to know his Groot, expounding on the Monarch of Planet X’s breathtaking understanding of quasi-dimensional superpositional engineering. To prove the point, Groot shortly thereafter initiates a relativist feedback loop by jury rigging quantum inhibitors with shunt energizers, thus saving the day. That sounds like a genius at work to us if there ever was one.
Most of the time, trees are pretty easy to take down. An ax, some matches, termites, a bazooka, and the Incredible Hulk’s fists will all do the trick nicely. That is unless you’re going up against Groot and his super durable bark, which is composed of a bioreactive material native only to his homeworld known as “sentient wood.” This dense wooden hide is tough enough to withstand most conventional weaponry (or annoying insect infestations) making him truly a Flora Colossus.
Perhaps Groot’s best feat of durability came within the pages of Marvel’s first official original prose novel, Rocket Raccoon and Groot: Steal the Galaxy! Towards the end of that tale, Groot finds himself locked up in an adamantium cage as its being lowered into a vat of super hot energy. It’s so hot in fact that it melts the near indestructible adamantium bars into nothingness. Groot, on the other hand, emerges not only unfazed but having absorbed the energy, momentarily transforming into the single most powerful being in the universe (you have to read it to believe it). Point is, Groot’s husk is tougher than adamantium.
8. Size Manipulation
Considering that Groot can manipulate his limbs and extend his roots to near infinite lengths, it only follows that he can alter the size of his entire body. And while the Guardians of the Galaxy movies might lead you to believe it takes time for Groot to grow from a dancing sprout to a yelling baby, his appearances in the comics have shown otherwise.
In 2013’s Guardians of the Galaxy #3, Groot rises from a potted seedling to gigantic proportions in a matter of seconds to free the team from the Spartex Royal Guard, showing that he can grow at a moments notice. He similarly turbo-boosted his cellular growth during an attack on the Babel Spire in Annihilation: Conquest #5. Or how about that time Hulk threw a tiny Groot at Thanos, only for him to balloon in size and lay the smack down. Conversely, on several occasions, he has shown the ability to just as easily and quickly shrink down to a pint-sized sapling. So anyone whose sad over the idea that one day, Baby Groot will have to grow up need not worry, this tree comes in all shapes and sizes every day of the week.
7. Instant Cellular Regeneration
Groot is always putting himself at the forefront of danger. When he first joined up with the Guardians, he got himself killed not once, but twice on kamikaze missions. Since then, he’s been burned, shot, impaled, severed in two, eaten alive, blown up, decapitated, and fallen victim to pretty much every other horrific act you can imagine befalling a giant talking tree. Given all that, it’s safe to say he has endured some nasty wounds over the years. Luckily, he has a healing factor that is enough to make even Wolverine jealous.
As we all saw at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy when Groot heroically turns into a wooden roll cage and sacrifices himself for his fellow teammates, he can grow back from almost anything. So long as there’s some good soil and a pot around, he is basically immortal. But even when he’s not splintered to smithereens or incinerated into ash, and he merely sustains a lost limb or hole blown through his trunk, he can immediately regenerate and promptly get back to saving the day.
6. Fire Resistance
While being resistant to flames might not seem all that special in the world of superheroing, when you’re a giant wooden tree, this power is nothing short of miraculous. Because unlike the vast majority of things to come out of a forest, Groot’s alien wood composite provides immunity to most fire. Our first glimpse of this remarkable talent came during his debut in Tales to Astonish #13, when he was terrorizing a small village and the townsfolk resorted to the tried and true monster tactic of throwing torches at him – to no avail. Since then, he’s found himself surrounded by blazing infernos all over the galaxy without ever getting so much as a burn on his bark.
That’s not to say that Groot can’t light up with the best of them when he wants. During the raid on the Babel Spire in Annihilation: Conquest #5, he consciously (with the help of Mantis) altered the makeup of his sap to be flammable so that he could be turned into a giant molotov cocktail. This skill that comes in particularly handy when he and Rocket go camping together, which we imagine they do a lot.
5. He Can Create Fully-Functioning Mini-Clones
What’s better than one tiny Groot? How about an infinite amount of tiny Groots! Just think of the fun. Well, you’re in luck, because one of Groot’s more delightful superpowers is the ability to create miniature versions of himself. What’s more, each of these mini-Groots has a mind of its own and come equipped with the same abilities that he possesses. Which comes in particularly handy when a clan of cosmic assassin clowns made out of sentient wood attack, as they are wont to do from time to time.
During 2011’s Annihilators #4, a clown hit squad targets Groot and Rocket Racoon. But since Bozo and Co. are made of wood (don’t ask why), they are ripe for some dendrokinesis action; the only issue is that there are too many for one Groot to handle. So he cleverly improvises by creating a mini-Groot army, each clone taking control of its own clown. A bunch of miniaturized Groots controlling crazy clowns to save the day? Life doesn’t get any better than that. Unless you hate clowns. In which case you should probably look away.
4. He is Telepathic (Maybe)
If you have ever marveled at Rocket Racoon’s ability to understand Groot despite only ever hearing three words, you’re not alone. One could even be forgiven for thinking that there was a telepathic connection between the two. Alas, Rocket has just spent enough time with this giant tree to have mastered reading all the different inflections and hidden meanings contained within “I am Groot.” Though that doesn’t necessarily mean Groot isn’t capable of chatting you up via his brain waves.
In the final issue of the Groot comic series, our favorite giant tree is partying with the X-Men. Over by the punch bowl, Scott Summers is hitting on Jean Grey when all of a sudden she hears an eloquent voice from above. Much to all our surprises, it’s Groot, who is communicating with her through thought. Now, one might say that Jean was just reading his mind, like she did in All-New X-Men #23, but it appears that Groot was the one who initiated the telepathic connection. Of course, if Groot is the genius he’s supposedly cracked up to be, who’s to say he couldn’t have figured out extrasensory perception as well. Or maybe all plants can naturally just read minds, which would be equal parts awesome and terrifying.
3. Impossible Cosmic Powers
The Power Cosmic is not something to be trifled with, but if you are looking to tap into your full potential, then try taking a swig from the Black Vortex. This mysterious object, created by none other than Celestials themselves, lets any user access the “impossible cosmic power.” So when during 2015’s Cyclops #12 Groot, along with Iceman and Cyclops, are trapped inside a flying alien space whale, they decide their best chance at escape is to give themselves over to the Black Vortex. The result? Oh, just Groot elevating to a cosmic entity, with all the bells and whistles that go with it.
While Groot’s newfound powers are eventually removed, for a few issues, he was (once again) one of the most powerful beings in the universe. All of his other superpowers listed here were magnified to near infinite cosmic levels, in addition to Groot gaining new skills such as being able to transport to any point in the universe instantaneously, breathing fire, and shooting splinters from his hands. And everyone knows there’s nothing worse in the entire universe then getting a splinter.
Maybe it’s because he’s so smart. Maybe it’s because he looks like a tree. Or maybe it’s because he makes for one hell of an adorable baby. Whatever the reason, Groot comes off as one of the most genuinely kind-hearted superheroes to ever grace the page, screen, or otherwise. His enhanced predilection towards altruism is one of his more defining character traits and entirely the reason why your local toy store is stock-full of Groot figurines, t-shirts, and coffee mugs. Because there is absolutely nothing not to love about this giant tree, since all he does he is germinate goodwill throughout the galaxy.
Sure, he can get as angry as a Hulk, but it is nearly always the result of one of his friends being put in harm’s way or someone trying to do wrong to others. Groot grows with the flow, never putting up a fight unless forced to, and he’s unwavering in his loyalty. And it seems with each day he only grows better, exemplified in 2016’s poetic Guardians of the Galaxy #16. While the rest of the Marvelverse is going at one another’s throats during a second Civil War, Groot roots down in Central Park to illuminate on the wonders of life and helping others, all in verse. Suffice to say, in a perfect universe, we would all be Groot.
Groot’s unique plantlike superpowers don’t stop at dendrokinesis and the power to control all forms of wood. He is also a master of chlorokinesis, possessing the ability to control all plant life. Vines, moss, leaves, seeds, fruits, and flowers all fall under the command of the Monarch of Planet X, as do plants in their concentrated forms like clothing or paper.
But unlike the villainous Poison Ivy, who holds a similar power, Groot more often than not puts his chlorokinetic abilities to good use, like building hammocks made out of vines for Rocket to sleep on or growing flowers to give to little children. Just like with the rest of his natural superpowered talents, be it to light your way with fireflies, cushion your fall from outer space, or kill clowns, Groot just wants to make the galaxy a better place, one plant come to life at a time. Because that’s just the type of tree he is.
Unless there’s a death button around.
What’s your favorite Groot-astic superpower? Let us know in the comments.