THE CANOPINE TREE

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Canopine Tree is an evergreen tree of great beauty, aptly named for its canopy of large needles. It is found nowhere except the steep slopes of the Warnaka Mountains. No one really knows why, but some botanists believe this is because it relies on the high lime content of the soil and the high altitude the Warnakas provides. Despite this it is a relatively common tree in its native land. It has a stunning gold trunk and lime green needles, these needles can refresh the internal body if eaten, they are also excellent at healing burns and wounds (if applied correctly). Canopine trees reproduce by scattering its seeds by the means of large ball shaped pine cones, that crack open to disperse the seeds.

Appearance. This tree is not very large in height standing at an average of five peds. Although it is small in height it has a very wide trunk and at the base it has an approximate diameter of 2 peds and 6 handspans when fully grown. The trunk is an almost gold colour that becomes reflective in summer (the shimmering trunks of Canopine Trees are often the tell tale signs of summers arrival).

About five peds up the trunk a mass of long slightly darker branches begin to protrude in all
directions. Each of these has many smaller branches attached to them. It is these smaller branches which hold the long (average of 2 handspans lengthwise, 9 grains widthwise) lime green needles. The crown of the tree looks like its almost perfectly hemispherical in shape, because the whole tree grows in unison like adding layers onto an onion.

Because of this shape the ground underneath the dense needles remains relatively dry, which makes it a popular spot for animals that live in burrows to make their homes among the thick roots. Also, if you happen to be caught in a surprise rain shower you can always find shelter under the crown of an Canopine Tree.

It is an incredibly hardy plant that thrives in most kinds of soil, but it particularily likes thin, well drained, lime soils. It will also grow well in a temperate climate. Every once in a while it will produce four or five very large spherical pine cones which have no little leaflets but will crack to scatter the seeds. They are approximately the size of a human man's head. A recent survey suggests that the lower the altitude the Canopine seed is planted the lower the germination rate.
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Territory. The Canopine Tree only grows in the thin lime soils of the Warnaka Mountains in the Nermeran region of Northern Santharia. Nobody really knows why, because it is an extremely hardy plant that could survive in basically any conditions (weatherwise) but it has been theorised that the high altitude and high lime content in the soil there, is why it does not venture past the foot of the Warnakas. The Canopine Tree grows in a temperate climate with very varied temperatures from harsh snowy winters to blistering summer heatwaves. They will always be found in pairs or groups usually beside a crag or boulder to provide shelter from the harsh winds. Because of its umbrella shape even a light gale could uproot it.
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Usages. The needles of the Canopiune Tree do wonders for the digestive system and leave the body revitalised and refreshed if eaten. They are very sour and taste just like kitrauhre (as the colour probably suggests) though it is probably best if you eat them along with something else. Culinary wise they make a great herb for seasoning meat and add a zesty flavour that dances on the palette. The needles can also be made into a poultice which if applied correctly can heal a small wound in a matter of days. These trees are said to be strongly related to the wind goddess Eyasha and the needles and seeds can be used as reagents for some wind magic spells.

The large ball shaped pine cones are very popular with children because they make great balls for ball games, probably because they are soft but do not break easily. The seeds it contains are not fit for human consumption but can be eaten by many animals and are a staple food for many birds and small mammals. If eaten they can induce severe vomiting and can be fatal if a high quantity is consumed. Ironically if this should happen the most potent remedy is the Canopine needles themselves. The golden hardwood also makes very attractive furniture and is popular among the Aellenrhim elves.
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Reproduction. The Canopine Trees reproduce by the means of four or five large spherical pine cones. These cones are suspended from vines under the umbrella canopy which provides them with shelter from the weather. These vines grow longer as the year progresses and by around the beginning of Burning Heavens they will reach the ground and detach from the cones. Because they are round and the fact that the trees grow on a steep mountainous region they are sent flying down the slope at high velocity. They have a very durable outer surface with the exception of ten flaws all of them placed all the way around the ball. As the cones are sailing down the hill and crashing into rocks and bumps these flaws will cause it to break open spilling the thousands of tiny seeds as it rolls along. If you are planning any hill walking around this time, take great care, for a tumbling Canopine cone could easily break a shin bone! Because their seeds are eaten by a wide variety of animals (particularly birds) the seeds are often "dropped" farther up the slope, and so the cycle continues.
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Myth/Lore. There is one Aellenrhim myth surrounding this tree but apart from this its origins are unknown. It is said that the wind goddess Eyasha created these trees to protect the eldest of the four teachers of the elves, Daltelar, from the darkwinds of Coór as she wandered the land, spreading her knowledge. When she did not return back to the leader of all elves, the High Avá'ránn, when she was summoned and she decided to stay and live a mortal life, these trees began to die out entirely and nearly became extinct, for their protection from the darkwinds was no longer needed. Only two survived, according to the lore, and they grew at the summit of the Warnaka Mountains. These were meant to represent the two teachers which dutifully returned to the High Avá'ránn.
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 Date of last edit 12th Sleeping Dreameress 1667 a.S.

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