THE GUNTHREED PLANT

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

A rare and valuable plant, the Gunthreed is a fairly large inhabitant of Nybelmarian riverbanks. It can grow to over two peds tall, and develop quite some mass. Prized for its medical applications, most noteworthy of these being the ability to soothe the mothers' pain at childbirth, the Gunthreed is at many places cultivated by the local inhabitants.

Appearance. Like many kinds of reed, the Gunthreed is a long and slender plant, consisting of a great number of long stalks originating from a single bulb-like root. It can reach a size of over two peds, and has stalks about as thick as a human finger, with a slight ridge every span. It has, a rich, vibrant green colour when the stalks are younger, but as it becomes fully grown this fades to a brown or yellow hue, with the sole exception of the ridges along the stalks. These maintain their green colouration, making for a fairly decorative sight.

The root bulb as the base consists of tough, dry fibers and supports multiple points from where the bundles of stalks and leaves can sprout. This bulb grows beneath the earth's surface and can become fairly large, often the size of an adult human's head.

The leaves are almost a full ped long and grow at the base of the plant. Each stalk has three or four leaves that wrap around its base like a sheath but bend away only a few nailsbreadths from the ground, giving a Gunthreed plant a tangled appearance.

On top of the matured stalks, the Gunthreed blooms. There are two ways how a Gunthreed can bloom, and there is never more than one type of flower in any one plant. The first way is rather inconspicuous, and consists of a small, reddish-brown tuft of hairs, no more than eight to ten nailsbreadths long that feel slightly sticky when touched.

The second type of flower is much larger, a fair two to three palmspan long plume and has a deep purple hue. They are quite easy to spot, and one of the fastest ways of determining if a stretch of river has Gunthreed growing on its banks or not.
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Territory. Gunthreed grows on sunny riverbanks in many places on
Nybelmar. It prefers clear streams with a dense growth of other reeds and grasses, which makes the Gunthreed quite hard to find when it is not in bloom. Places where the Gunthreed can be found in relative abundance include the Chunite Plains, the entire eastern coast of the continent, and the Moredein Kaerath. It does not grow along the larger rivers of the continent, and, unlike most other reeds, it will not grow in marshlands or other muddy waters. As is to be expected, even the clearest brooks in the Venlaken Enclave will have to do without this particular reed as well. Return to the top

Usages. Gunthreed is particularly known for its medical usages. A tincture of the dried leaves will soothe pain, in particular those of childbirth. Would this tincture be used in a salve, it can be applied to the mother's belly, causing the muscles to relax strongly, reducing the strain of a difficult birth.

Also, chewing the fresh marrow of the central stalks will provide a slight increase in strength for at least a few minutes, and lasting up to half an hour at most. It has been reported that this works better as the user is more tired, so it is suggested that the plant might not actually give greater strength but instead restore the user's strength rapidly.
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Reproduction. Like many reeds and grasses, the Gunthreed has a fairly simple yet efficient method of reproduction. The smallest, female flower, develops into a bundle of dense fibers after being pollinated, usually without interference from insects as the wind seems to be capable of performing pollination. This bundle then slowly elongates throughout the next two months, and, usually around the end of the year, falls apart into thousands of tiny seeds, each fitted with a hairy fiber that acts as a sail, enabling the seeds to drift many strals before touching down again.
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Myth/Lore. As mentioned before, the Gunthreed has multiple medical usages. It is noteworthy however that prolonged and repeated usage of the strengthening application can result in a serious addiction to the Gunthreed. This eventually causes severe strain on the body, and can lead to various signs of extreme exhaustion, such as blackouts, unconsciousness, or even death, as the addictee starts using more and more of the marrow in order to sustain his addiction. There is no real cure for this affliction. In the early stages of addiction, simple withdrawal usually proves to be effective, but when outside interference does not occur fast enough, the process of withdrawal will often cause severe damage to the mind, making the victim mentally unstable, or incapable of understanding more than the simplest of thoughts and ideas.

Therefore, the heavily addicted are usually allowed to finish the traject on their own, and die from their over-usage, both as a lesson to others, and because forcing them to withdraw would kill them just the same, and in a much more unpleasant way.

The medical applications, especially those related to childbirth, are also the reason the Gunthreed is exported to Sarvonia, where it is sold as a very expensive drug to various noble families where a child is expected. With no way to get the fresh marrow to Sarvonia before it loses effect, the strengthening factor, as well as the addiction to it, are unheard of in those parts.
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 Date of last edit 10th Rising Sun 1667 a.S.

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