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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Couple of Plants on Eclectia

Well, the plant life on Eclectia, besides being very hardy, must be able to withstand extreme temperatures and the 5 day summer to winter cycle. They just about all have to be of some sort of evergreen plant like, pines, firs, holly, or boxwood, etc.

But I thought of a couple made up ones that would be fun to have. One is a succulent spiral shoot that is called a Spring plant, because it is shaped like a spring. And there could be fields of them. And those fields would be called Spring fields because many of them would grow together interlacing and blocking out other plant including the tenacious lava brush. When it's a winter day, the plants contract down together close to the ground for protection and to insulate the roots from freezing. On more tepid days, the spring plant loosens up and becomes, well, springy, but a bit and becomes a fun place for sports like soccer or soft ball or just a fun place to run around since the springy plant is bouncy. But on summer days, the coils loosen even more making them hard to walk over, tripping and snagging at the feet.
The contracting during the winter is what protects the Spring plant's extensive root system. On the coldest days or nights, temperatures may harm the coils, but the intact roots are preserved and will start sending up new coils to replace the damaged or dead ones.
The Spring Plant doesn't flower much since it does most of its reproducing by its root system. But when the conditions are just right, a few the the spirals may produce seed pods. They are heavy, though, and smooth. So they neither float on the wind nor attach to the hairs of a bug to be carried off. The pods usually just fall into the ground nearby that is already over run by Spring Plants. Thus the saying, "The pod doesn't fall far from the spring patch."
Eaten raw, they are bitter, but a few spirals in a large pot of soup adds a unique flavor that makes bug meat more digestible.

The Thorny Fan gets its name from its two extreme phases. On summer days, the leaves spread open like fans to capture as much sunlight as possible. But on the winter days the leaves fold in on themselves, then twist, forming tough, sharp thorns an inch or two long. The prick of the thorn causes an irritation like a mosquito bite and both man and animal avoid patches of Thorny Fan on winter days.
It is a medicinal plant gathered when the leaves are open. The leaves are either chewed fresh or dried and kept on hand to produce a tea that takes the edge off of pain. It is also a fever reducer.
The plant refuses to grow on Avenir or in the undersea cities no matter what is tried to reproduce the extreme conditions of Eclectia.
Thorny Fans produce an extraordinary flower. It comes up on the first summer day, opens green like the leaves. But rather than fan shaped, it bursts open in all directions like an exploding fire cracker. Then it closes for a winter cycle. The next summer day it opens in brilliant colors ranging for purples and deep blues to reds and oranges, depending on the acidity of the soil. Then the flower closes again for a winter cycle. The third summer day it opens up as a parachute ball seed head. The first strong breeze or hearty wind sends the parachuted seeds flying to find new ground to sow.
The oil of the plant, when produce a certain way, has the same effect on people as an opiate. This was discovered when producers worked to extract the medicinal qualities from the bulk of the plant for easier shipping. Unfortunately this discovery led to abuse.
The plant grew plentifully on Eclectia but Enforcers had to destroy most of the plants and make the oil a controlled substance because the poor would produce the drug to ease the pain of their futile lives. Many deaths and unwanted pregnancies resulted. Deaths came from overdose or murder. Parents would abandon their children or sell them in order to get Thorny Fan Oil or Thano. The plant can be grown by a very few who obtain licences to do so. And still others risk growing it illegally for either themselves or for profit. Thano busts are (can be?) a regular occurrence on Eclectia.
Though it is illegal to grow Thorny Fan without a licence, in the high country and desolate places, naturally occurring Thorny Fan is generally left alone by enforcers since the Nomads don't have the technology to produce Thano and the Hermits and Miners of the Five Rims, along with the Nomads, prefer to use it in it's natural form for pain and fever reducing.

2 comments:

  1. Generally, geology types look upon vegetation as that "icky green stuff" that hides all the neat rock formations. But I have to admit, this chunk of botany is very nice. MORE,MORE!

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  2. Walt, you know better than to encourage me like this. I started looking at my trees outside and started imagining other plants already. I'll write another entry for the Eclectia botany field guide when those plants finally settle down into a specific form in my head. It's almost as fun as making up characters

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