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 Notes on the Foliage of Arachnia

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PostSubject: Notes on the Foliage of Arachnia    Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:38 am

Notes on the Foliage of Arachnia
Arachnia has spent her birth action causing rapid mutation to happen to both her people and a wide number of different plants over the past thousand years or so. The changes have been very rapid with species mutating drastically from one generation to the next even as the people watched. Over time grasses, flowers, bushes, and trees all grew into trees of epic proportions.

Strangler Figs -

Worth a mention even though they are not a new plant, the strangler fig often wraps it's way around the arching branches of pod trees and other plants. Seeds that land on other threes thus are able to send roots down to the ground while continuing to grow upwards, while also being able to grow on the ground themselves. This is a common trait found in thick dark forests, especially the jungles of india and asia. The strangler fig also sends down roots from it's branches forming thick support pillars and an extensive ground based root system that may attach to walls, cliffsides, or even wrap around other plants. This is a growth pattern that has been adopted by many other trees native the the ARACHNIA region.

The Weeping Wheat Tree -

The tall arching roots of the mature weeping wheat tree lift it ten feet above the ground below. Ten feet above that the plant splits into a ring of thick branches from which thick bunches of smaller shoots hang down to shade the ground below. Every five feet up a new ring of branches spirals upwards completely blocking out the sunlight and forcing rain to filter through layer after layer in such a way that rain hits the ground hours, or even days after it originally dropped. Roots grow down between the branches wrapping around other trees, or attaching to walls, and forming thick support pillars between the widely splayed branches.

The tree is green in summer, yellow in fall, and brown in winter. At the end of the thick yellow fronds the tree wheat grows thick, exploding violently when ripe and scattering seedlings far and wide across a huge area of land. Like other stranglers the weeping wheat can germinate on another plants branch or on a cliffside. Yet where the weeping wheet tree strarts its growth on a branch the root system will attempt to create a main trunk once it reaches the ground. Yet even with these adaptions most of the plants seeds will never reach maturity.

Few seeds fall into optimal growth spaces. Some fall within the radius of the parent tree where it is too dark for growth. Others fall in similarly shaded areas, or spaces that are too wet, too dry, or otherwise unsuitable. Many grains are eaten off the tree before they are ripe by birds, while some seed pods don't explode at all (as with modern wheat that requires human intervention for it's spread). Furthermore this is a slow growing hardwood and begins it's life small, and tasty. Many plants are ravaged by animal life on the forest floor, get struck down by lightning, or become diseased. The few who do survive the first ten years will become mature by the century mark and can probably depend on surviving up to 1000 years. Weeping Wheats tower up to 100 feet at maximum growth, 1/3rd the size of a giant redwood tree.

The Great Pod Tree -

A single thick trunk rises up 300 feet into the sky. branches arch downwards towards the ground attaching to one another, to the branches of other trees, and to the ground in great arching structures that hook together with root-like tendrils that dig into everything. Hanging from these branches are large thick pods close to the size of an apple; each of which contain several small fruits about 1 inch around. These pods are shaded by large leaves that hang downwards like clothes hanging from a line. When ripe these pods burst open explosively rocketing the seeds outwards in all directions. Often several of these plants grow together intertwined in a grove of arching branches and straight stalks.

Pod trees are slow growing hard woods descended from the pea vine. They take 100 years to reach sexual maturity, and five hundred years to reach their full growth. Most seeds however don't reach full maturity as 1 out of every ten fruits are eaten by animals, rot on the ground, or land in inhospitable locations that are too wet, too dry, etc . . . Soil conditions for optimal pod tree growth are similar to that needed by the ancestral pea except that trees need much better growing conditions to reach optimal growth. Often, in less fertile areas, a pod tree will only grow to 50 feet tall.

The Arboreal Grape -

The arboreal grape is a large vine that lives parasitically on the branches of other trees. These vines grow wild over pod trees, fig trees, and other giant's of the forest with their fruits hanging down below the branches. Arboreal Animals eat the fruit and deposit the seeds on the branches and around the base of the plants. An arboreal grape that gets its start on the ground will wrap around the trunk in a spiraling pattern. The plant normally doesn't kill it's host but like all parasitic plants is detrimental to optimal growth levels. Like many species in the region the arboreal grape is a strangler, and in many regions you can find hollow columns of thick grape branches leaving the shadow image of long decayed support plants as the mature plant continues to feed on the surrounding foliage and soil of a region.

The Giant Strangler Olive -

Like the native olive tree except that it's evergreen branches reach up to 100 feet instead of merely 50, this is an evolutionary advantage that allows the plant to compete with the other giants of the forest for light. Without this change the olive would be reduced to a plant of the forest clearing or in areas where other trees have been unable to reach their full maturity.

Also unlike other olives the Giant Strangler olive stands on roots like those of a mangrove tree that hold it 10 feet above the forest floor, and sends down roots from it's splayed branches like a strangler fig tree. These are features also found in the Weeping Wheat Tree and to some degree in the Great Pod Tree.

Great Strangler Cedar -

Cedar trees also grow in this region, reaching up to 100 feet tall at full growth. The only alteration to these mountain trees is that they also have adapted to be stranglers, sending down pillar like support roots from their branches that attach to the mountain face or to other trees. Like all stranglers this tree can grow well on cliff faces, or sprout on the branches of other plants within the region. This is an adapation that helps allow them to compete with the wide variety of other strangler plants that dominate the regions forests.

Summary of Changes

The forests of Arachnia are a vast spider web of gigantic trees one piled on top of the other that stretch over a wide area of the landscape. These trees are highly competitive and most of them are stranglers with extensive root systems that form a webwork of arches, domes, tunnels, and towers all across the land. At the ground level everything is shrouded in complete darkness as if you were in the deepest of caverns. Most plants get there starts on the branches of other trees, or in clearings formed by wildfires, or by the loss of critical "support" pillars" causing many trees to callapse and die all at once.

This is a drastic change to the area and it has forced many species to migrate out of the region, or to live outside the range of the forests spread. Thankfully these plants are normally slow growers and the new forests haven't established themselves everywhere as of yet. Instead what you see is areas where one plant or another completely dominates in their "native range". Between these islands of extremely thick, old growth, forest, you find plains, mountains, and other types of terrain native to the area. Unfortunately these other biomes are endangered as these goddess blessed trees are very good at establishing themselves within a wide variety of climate and soil types. Their growth won't likely be infinite fortunately, they all depend on a mediteranean or eastern asian climate type with many being descended from plants native to the plains and mountains of western Asia.This means they won't naturally spread to places like northern china, the tibetan plateau, siberia, or nothern europe.

Last edited by Admin on Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:39 pm; edited 2 times in total
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