THE CACTI OVERVIEW

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - OVERVIEW

The Cactus (pl. Cacti) is a plant native to dry desert lands and plains. It is known especially for its hardiness and ability to live for long periods without water. Cacti can be found on nearly all continents, where there are deserts or plains. They come in many shapes and sizes, but most are between dark green and light brown in color and nearly all have needles.

Appearance. The Cactus is a water storing plant that can survive in any environment under the worst of conditions. It usually ranges in size from 12 peds to a nailsbreadth, depending upon species. Most Cacti have needles extending from them that keep intruders from harming their softer, more delicate skin. Needles can cover from 5 to 90 percent of a Cactus' exterior. Hues range from dark emerald to a yellow or light fawn color.

Territory. Cacti are mainly found in warm climates, preferring desert and plains regions. These plants can thrive nearly anywhere, but are native to many of the deserts and plains of Aér'aí'chán. They are most commonly found throughout the continent of Aeruillin and within the Aj'nuvic Grounds in Southern Sarvonia. There are also a few hardier and smaller Cacti in the Plains of Death, the most common of these are the Penokino and a smaller form of the Sepulchura.  Return to the top

Usages. Many long needled Cacti are harvested of their needles for sewing and other household needs. Other Cacti produce edible fruits, or are even fully edible themselves. The altling Cactus is used as a hallucinogenic, harvested by priests and priestesses to promote visions. (See individual Cacti for further details.)  
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Reproduction. Most Cacti grow out branches which then fall off or attach themselves into the earth to create new plants, these Cacti include penokino, ger-ger, prickling pango, and springing cactus. Others of the fruiting variety, are able to flower out. Once these flowers have been pollinated they die off to create fruits which contain seeds. These fruits either rot off of the plant or are eaten by birds and carried away to be planted elsewhere. These cacti include Agisuhlt, Sepulchura, Altling, and Lofoforalt.
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Overview. A short list of all known kinds of Cacti can be found below:

AGISHUHLT CACTUS, THE
The largest cactus, commonly reaching up to 12 peds tall, and between 0.4 and 0.6 peds thick. This is the giant in the Cactus world, there is no other Cactus that reaches anywhere near to its size.

The Agisuhlt is long and round, with arms reaching upward from its mid to upper sections. There are no arms protruding from below its mid section. The skin of the Agisuhlt is waxy and soft, with long ridges going downward in rows on its surface. There are spines along the tops of these ridges that are each around 4 nails breadths long. The ridges are able to expand as the cactus soaks up water.

You can always tell when an Agisuhlt has gone through a drought or particularly good season by the width of its base. During droughts the base shrinks and gets a brown leathery skin over it, scarring the Cactus for life. In good seasons the Cactus may expand and bubble out quite a lot more than its average proportions.

The tops of the arms and trunk of this cactus grow flowers once a year that bloom after the sun has gone down and then close around midday the next day, only opening their glorious blossoms once. It is a very spectacular site to see an Agisuhlt bloom, and many people marvel at the rich colors that spill forth from each blossom. Flower colors can range from a deep Santharian purple to a pale urmarillion, but are most commonly found in oranges and reds. After the flower dies off, fruit is formed bearing a rich crimson color.

The Agisuhlt must live 50 years before it begins to grow its first arm, each arm after also takes 50 years to form. The average adult Agisuhlt has about 5 arms, is about 9 peds tall, and is estimated to be around 250 years old. There have been Agisuhlts found with well over 10 arms. An Agisuhlt will only die after an extremely long drought period, lasting over two years. The life expectancy of these great giants is at present unknown. Some believe these Cacti live forever, and have been around since the creation of the world. Many consider the Agisuhlt a sacred Cactus and most tribes have made it a crime to harm one of these great giants of the desert.
 

ALTLING CACTUS, THE
A very long cactus that tends to grow in bunches. The Altling can get up to 4 peds high and 1 hand span thick. It tends to grow in thick bunches with other Altlings to form small crops of around 20 to 35 cacti. The Altling is a very slow growing cactus, only reaching 1 ped and thus ready for hallucinogenic use after 12 to 15 years.

Its skin is cut and used as a hallucinogenic, either eaten raw, or more commonly boiled in a tea, or dried and then eaten. Many priests and priestesses use this cactus to aid in creating prophetic 'visions'.
 

PENOKINO CACTUS, THE
A seed cone shaped Cactus, with many other "seed cones" attached, growing low to the ground. This cactus is virtually free of needles, and rarely pricks the skin or causes irritations. It has the distinct appearance of a seed cone down to it's very color and could easily be mistaken for a seed cone off of some odd conifer species. This plant grows out into many branches that all look alike and are virtually the same size of between 1 and 3 hand spans long. The Penokino has a very narrow girth and rarely gets larger than 3 to 4 nails breadths wide.
 

GER-GER, THE
This Cactus has rough grooved brown skin, and no spines, it is considered a relative of the Penokino due to its appearance. Like the Penokino it is virtually spineless and has a brown color, however this plant gets several times larger than the Penokino and can be used for its juice. It grows between 1 and 2 fores long and 1 to 2 hand spans wide and looks much like several large brown melons all connected together. It contains water, like most Cacti and has flesh like a melon, but with a strong earthy, pickled flavour. It ferments quickly and is used as a very nasty local form of moonshine called "Gerjuice".
 

LOFOFORALT CACTUS, THE
A Cactus related to but not resembling the Altling, it provides similar but more intense hallucinogenic and pain relieving effects. It can be ingested similarly to the Altling, most commonly dried and eaten in little button shaped discs. Its ped long thick roots are not hallucinogenic and should be kept in tact in order to encourage the top to grow back again.

The Lofoforalt, or more commonly Lofo, is usually gray to dark brown in appearance with no needles. Usually growing in an outcrop with several other Lofoforalts, these Cacti sometimes resemble giant bubbled rocks. When flowering, this can be quite a fantastic site, the flowers usually between white and a dark deep pink, with many long thin petals and a large yellow center. After the plant flowers, it develops dark pink berries, containing hundreds of white seeds about half a grain in size.
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MÁR'KÁL, THE ("WATERFRUIT", "DEMONFRUIT")
The Már’kál (Styrásh for "Waterfruit"), also sometimes referred to as "Demon Fruit", is one of those desert plants which contain moisture and is often used by the nearby fauna as a water source. A paradoxal plant, for its hostile appearance often wards travellers away while it is in fact one of the most handy plants in the desert. The thorny plant has fruits which look like small dark pompions which contain drinkable water. The plant is often found in the Ráhaz’Dáth area, but is known to appear in other desert-like territories as well, such as the Zhunite desert in Nybelmar. The Már’kál is mostly used by desert creatures, who have become accustomed to the harsh conditions of the sandy dunes of the great deserts. One of those creatures is the sandroller, in whose life the plant fulfills a great role.
 

PRICKLING PANGO CACTUS, THE
A green Cactus with sweet red fruit, completely edible on all parts. It has very few visible needles, but does have some smaller ones that can make the hands itch and are very hard to remove. This Cactus usually does not grow over 1 to 2 peds from the ground, but can branch out 4 and 5 peds around itself.

The fruit is spineless and its skin can be eaten as a whole with the insides. The branches must first be skinned and then cooked before they are edible. These cacti are used in many local dishes and desserts.
 

SEPULCHURA CACTUS, THE
A very round golden needled Cactus, usually spherical in shape. Used as a decoration in some gardens. Its needles are removed and used for quilting or large needled sewing. It usually grows no larger than 2 fores around and 1 fore high. It's flowers tend to be a rich orangey or yellow color, and its fruits are like little yellow berries when ripe.

It is said that the Sepulchura sprang forth from the grave of a very sharp witted bard with beautiful flaxen hair. Many people still use this plant in remembrance of that myth, planting it upon the graves of bards passed. No one knows exactly where this myth first came from, but most believe it was an old bard's tale.
 

SPRINGING, THE (CLINGING CACTUS)
This is a very prickly Cactus with thousands of needles covering nearly 90% of its surface. It grows like a tree, with one to two large trunks at the bottom and hundreds of branches coming off starting midway up the cactus. The Springing Cactus can get over 4 peds tall and can cover twice as much around with its many branches.

The branches are very sensitive and will break off in the wind, sometimes to replant in the ground nearby to create new Cacti or to die and create a very dangerous area to walk in. If one of these needles gets stuck in you, you better sit tight and not wiggle it too hard, they just dig deeper, as they are barbed and poisoned, causing your skin to swell around them. A heavy pair of pliers or some very skilled hands are needed to remove them. The best advice for the Springing Cactus is to stay as far as you can from it; it is most dangerous and a very excruciatingly painful experience to find you've landed or attached yourself to one of these Cacti.
 

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