Mana Pods appear on trees in Magical Forests, most often on greatwoods, but occasionally on large oaks. They can be planted on the bottom of any log, but only in a magical biome. For basic Thaumcraft, "magical biomes" include Magical Forest, Eerie, or Tainted Land biomes, but additional mods can add other magical biomes. (Note that they have no special resistance to taint!)
Each pod has a magical aspect; when ripe, magical vision will identify a pod's aspect. Ripe pods can be broken to yield one or two beans, each of which can be replanted or distilled for a single point of its aspect.
Pods created in world generation will always have primal aspects, but they can be bred into compound aspects:
Mana bean pods that are planted next to each other have a chance to cross-pollinate each other. If the two beans have aspects which can form a compound, the affected bean will have that aspect, otherwise it will simply adopt the aspect of its neighbor. Hence, if you plant an Ignis mana bean adjacent to an Ordo mana bean then either bean may grow into a Potentia pod. This allows players to develop mana bean farms for aspects that are normally tedious to acquire, such as auram.
Mana bean farming may be automated by the use of golems, but this will require considerable care and effort.
If eaten, mana beans can yield research points, but they will also give random status effects, including dangerous or lethal ones. Other mods can make this gamble even more dangerous; in particular, the Witchery mod enables Harming as a continuing effect, which is rapidly lethal.
- Before 4.11, mana beans were used to make Salis Mundus, but no longer.
- Before 4.2, mana beans had random aspects, with no way to learn beforehand what aspect a pod would produce.