THE DASHEFRUIT CREEPER

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Dashefruit Creeper is an intriguing plant with its delicious fruit, interesting growth patterns and flammable pit. It is found growing deep within any fertile, humid and tropical forest or jungle of Aeruillin. Locals use the fruit sparingly since, though useful, it is difficult to find and harvest as well as growing in presumably limited supply.

Appearance. The creeper itself seeds from the hard, smooth pit of its fruit, the Dashefruit. The spherical pits are heavy despite their 2-3 nailsbreadth diameter and contain a filmy, flammable oil. If conditions are desirable, the eggshell thin crust of the pit will crack off and from the porous and oily core within will grow the stalk and thin, spidery roots. The stalk of the vine is made of tough, dark green fibers covered in tiny, seemingly harmless, hairs. These hairs in fact can latch onto the skin of both animal and man, causing a nasty rash and lasting itch. The broad, spade shaped leaves generally grow, in great numbers, to a palmspan in length but have been seen to reach lengths upwards of one and a half fore. They are smooth and glossy on the upper side while the underskin of the leaf is slighty velvety, sporting hairs that do not cause a rash. The vines of the plant follow the lay of the land, never rising more than a fore above the ground where the seed lies. Once the vine has reached the maturity of two years (this is assuming the presence of good growing conditions as the time could be longer if the environment is poor) the small white buds found growing at the neck of the largest of leaves will develop into fruit.

The dashefruit will take up to a month (once again considering good growing conditions) to reach its full size when they will, on average, measure two palmspans around the outside of the bulge. The fruit claim the shape identical of that of a pear, with a bulbous bottom half and small rounded top piece. The skin of the fruit is smooth and thick and coloured an unattractive muddy orange until ripening into a stark white. Within the fruit, the meat is colored a bright crimson, laden with the staining juice. It has been said that visitors to Aeruillin who first try the expensive treat are put off by the blood-like intensity of the Dashefruit. A knife must be used to open the fruit considering that the skin is both tough and inedible while the red, porous interior packs a sweet and sour punch.
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Territory. Dashefruit Creepers are found exclusively within the humid jungles of Aeruillin, which primarily around the few lakes, oasis’ and shores that dot the arid landscape. The plant is incredibly difficult to locate as the seeds, given their weight and smooth round appearance, manage to lodge themselves at the bottom of impassable ravines, ditches, trenches and pits. The soil must also be fertile and moist for the plant to grow with any success.

The reaching vines of the plant that branch off in each and every direction from the main stalk are not climbers, as they simply follow the ground around them. The shade-loving plant is not capable of supporting stalks that reach up into the air so branches are never found more than a fore above the level of its seed and roots. This continues the cycle of the low growing, difficult to locate brush. As mentioned, the Dashefruit Creeper favours shady, moist places of the rare fertile regions so they are never found within sparse vegetation or near the rim of their jungle-like homes.
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Usages. As mentioned, the Dashefruit is more or less impossible to cultivate by humans for its demand of precise growing conditions and its location deep within the dangerous tropical groves. It is, though, a rare commodity in markets and with its tart yet tasty flavour demands a high price. There are the few who, with knowledge of the area and plant, manage to harvest tiny amounts of the fruit for market sale where the wealthy (or more accurately, the servants of the wealthy with their masters’ money) can purchase it to show off to friends.

The other major use of the Dashefruit Creeper is, in fact, the pit of the fruit. The black seed contains a filmy oil deep within its pores. When heated over or within a flame, the oil will ‘sweat’ out of the cell and, in turn, feed the fire more. This oil is incredibly flammable for such a small amount is required to ignite and once a pit is exhausted (nearly a full twelve hours later!) the outside appears the same while the interior has turned completely to ash. While most people would think that this resource could be sold for a fortune on the Santharian mainland, they presume wrong as the seed still requires the precise environmental balance to survive without drying up on its own. It can take but the slightest of sudden movement or dry environment to cause the black fragile shell that covers the pit to break, resulting in a dry and useless pit.
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Reproduction. It is said that the dashefruit pollinates when the itchy fuzz that grows on the stalk is somehow rubbed off onto some part of the plant (more often than not, the broad leaves). This can be achieved when the hair-like spines attach to an animal of some sort and then drop onto the plant. This process may sound difficult to achieve, but since the plant often grows in concentrated ditches, it is not uncommon for an unfortunate animal to find itself traversing through a veritable forest of dashefruits. It is then that the plant grows the strange fruit from the base of its leaves which bear the curious seed within.
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