Planet of Origin: Lusitania
Humanoid procine species. Forest-dwelling and technologically primitive, they are incredibly intelligent and able to learn languages extremely quickly.
Biology, taken from the Wikipedia:
“The pequeninos exhibit an extreme case of sexual dimorphism, combined with the unique plant/animal symbiosis that characterizes all life in their native planet of Lusitania, thanks to a virus that was known to the people of Lusitania only as the descolada. Taking this symbiosis to the extreme, pequeninos are unique in that they metamorphize from animal to plant.
Fertile females of the species are impregnated while still in non-sentient worm-like infant form from the fathertrees that form the third stage in the development of Pequenino males. Typically called little mothers, they do not survive labour as they have no birth canal — embryo pequeninos have to eat their way out of their infant mothers.
This birth takes place within the birthing place or else the mother-tree of the pequenino tribe. Following birth, there follows what pequeninos call their "first life" or "life of darkness," their life as infants and children which they spend still within the mothertree. Most female children will not pass this stage of development, dying as they deliver the new generation of pequeninos, though a few of them, those either sterile or deliberately selected for the role will grow up to full stature in order to become wives, the matriarchs of the tribe.
Male children will eventually grow up to their "second life" or "half-lit life", leaving the mothertree. In this time the male pequeninos, calling themselves now "brothers", try to distinguish themselves, hunting and foraging, and very often waging war against other tribes. Also they carry the infant mothers to and from the fathertrees. It is in this stage that pequeninos have the most humanoid appearance, and the most comprehensible, and communicatable, type of existence for humans.
In this stage male pequeninos don't have reproductive capabilities. This only happens in their "third life" or "life in the full light", which is a privilege selected only for those pequeninos that have distinguished themselves, either in combat or otherwise — a decision usually made by the matriarchic wives. Male pequeninos that are given this honour, are seemingly ritually killed by a fellow tribe member, but in reality the methodical cuts and removal of certain organs that they undergo helps them transform into "fathertrees" that grow out of what are seemingly their corpses.
These fathertrees, or simply fathers, look completely like trees in appearance, but nonetheless the pequeninos can still communicate with them using the "father-tongue"; and the trees can also communicate with each other. Communication from father tree to brothers requires the brother to tap the father with sticks, allowing the father to adjust cavity sizes inside his trunk to vary the sound. With the sap on their barks, they fertilize the infant mothers carried to them by the "brothers".
If a pequenino dies without the proper rituals, he will become a brothertree, a tree that does not retain its sentience as the fathertrees do. It is from these trees that the pequeninos take their wood, by speaking to them in the "fathertongue" and singing them into the wooden tools they need.”
Source: Speaker for the Dead (Orson Scott Card)