THE BOMBOX PALM

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Bombox Palm, a coconut plant, can be found everywhere on the seacoasts of the tropical region. Its leaves, trunk scales, and its remarkable fruit are used commonly among the people of tropics.

The Bombox Palms

View picture in full size Picture description. View on the windswept bombox palms at the tempting beaches of Aiden, the largest tropical island of the archipelago of the Scattersand Shoals. Image drawn by Hylphán.

Appearance. The Bombox Palm is relatively tall, up to six peds, and has a thin light-brown trunk, made up of small sharp triangular scales pointed upward. The leaves, flowers, and fruit grow in the upper part of the palm. Leaves sprout from the top and unfold in a similar way to brake leaves. The oldest leaves grow in the bottom of the crone and as they fall, the upper ones move down, and so on. The size of a grown leaf usually varies from 1-2 peds in length and 0.5 of a ped in width. The leaves are sleek, and are dark green on the upper side and slightly lighter on the lower. Their tough surface and flesh make them very valuable in use.

The flowers are white and hard to notice, for they are very small and appear in the foundations of leaves, but the fruit is the most interesting part of the palm, and the reason for its name. The fruit, about 15 nailsbreadths in diameter, has a round form and a very smooth black surface. It starts off as greenish-pink and, as it grows, becomes red, purple and then black. In its early stage of development the fruit has a light-green pulp inside, very sour to taste, but all right to eat if one is starved. In a grown fruit the pulp dries on the sides, emptying the interior, and leaving the seeds free inside, without the support of the pulp. The seed is released when the tight surface of the fruit cracks, sending it around in a several ped radius, accompanied by a loud explosion.
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Territory.
Bombox Palm is very common on the coasts of southern Sarvonia (in Manthria, Sanguia and southern Enthronia), southern Nybelmar, and the southern islands of the Yamalquain archipelago. Some also grow in northern Doranthakar and southern Denilou - on the coasts of the Burning Sea.
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Usages.
The coastal tribes of Southern Sarvonia, which include some elven and some human, have found many uses for this remarkable tree. For example, the leaves are used for roof covering, elements of clothing, when cut in strands - weaving baskets, sandals and such, and making various fans and cone-like hats; very important in hot climate. The sharp trunk scales are sometimes used as tools for piercing or cutting food and cloth. Although pulp, present in the young fruit, is considered useless, it is said that the coastal people of Denilou have found a way to use it in medicine when cooked in a special way, which they choose to keep secret.

Also, in the past, the fruit of this palm is known to have been used in wars to scare the opponent with noise, since grown bomboxes can also blow up when they are thrown or shaken.
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Reproduction. Bombox only grows on the coasts because the ocean is its way of sending the seeds to other shores. Even after months of "travel" the seeds remain alive on the water, and the currents take them far, far away from their original place, thousands of strals away! Bombox also likes its roots in the sea-water, so it will already become "sick" and dried up if set a stral away from the shore.

Flowers are fertilized by a very common way – through insects. There are two kinds of palm – male and female. The male ones have bright orange flowers with only thrums, and female flowers, though unnoticeable in blooming, have a very strong and sweet aroma. Insects get attracted to the brightness of the males, and the pollen sticks to their bodies. If they later on fly to a female flower, they drop the pollen off into the flower and it is fertilized.
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Myth/Lore. Many old parchments have been uncovered of the old coastal villages. Some contain history; some tales and myths.

It is said that once on a little island the Weather God Grothar in his fury of a storm had shaken a coconut palm forest with thunder so great that all the coconuts suddenly began to burst. The pieces of coconut flesh flew far, far away in different directions and settled in the regions where the Bombox grows now. From these pieces of flesh later on grew trees with a vivid memory of a growling thunder, and their fruit ever since then is imitating thunder and calling to their past days on the lively little island. 
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