THE KEELO TREE

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Keelo Tree is a popular addition to most Krean gardens due to the sweet and succulent fruit that it bears. They are, however, native to the rainforests on the peninsula of Shar and are an important part of the ecosystems there.

Appearance. Keelos are not incredibly tall, but neither are they short. They stand a mediocre four peds in height before they begin to branch out. Keelos are, however, quite thin in comparison to heights, being only around three palmspans in diameter. The almost completely circular trunks of the tree are coated in a thin, greenish brown bark. This bark has a slippery, spilk-like, touch to it and can be easily removed to expose the wood of the Keelo. The wood itself is bone dry and is a sickly, pale yellow, and, although durable, is never used by the Krean for carpentry or building due to its overall ugliness.

Keelo Trees branch out after they reach about four peds in height. Theses branches begin quite thick and sturdy. Normally there are only around three to five of these thicker ones. These branches grow outwards for about half a ped until each one breaks out into two thinner ones. These branches stop growing upwards, but continue growing horizontally. The thinner ones begin to dip down, creating a crescent shape with all of them. The branches then split into a further two branches which are a lot thinner, only a few nailsbreadths. Each of these incredibly thin branches bear one of the Keelo's famous fruits.

Every branch bears about four leaves. The leaves are long and narrow, about one palmspan long each and about three nailsbreadths wide. The leaves are a bluish green, reminiscent of the rainforest's reflection on a moonlit night.

The fruit itself starts growing in a cocoon. A full-grown cocoon is around the size of a human child’s head. This cocoon is a fluorescent green and has strange grooves and patterns indented into the surface, and as such has a rough touch to them. The cocoons are incredibly strong, but begin to weaken as the fruit inside ripens. As it weakens its colour darkens until it is a pale green. If the cocoon is not opened within a month of it ripening it turns a horrid black colour and the fruit inside a repulsive brown liquid, until the cocoon falls from the tree, destroying it and spreading its hideous insides onto the forest floor.

The contents of a ripe cocoon are nowhere near as nauseating as that of a rotten one. Inside there is a fleshy, red, egg-shaped fruit which fills about two thirds of the cocoon. The fleshy inside, known as Keelofruit, is submerged in a sweet sticky fluid. This fluid is a translucent pink but is quite viscous so must be diluted before it can be separated from the fruit. In the core of every Keelofruit there is a small, brittle cylinder, which is a chilling jet black. This core contains around ten of the flat white Keelo Tree seeds that are around the size of a man’s fingernail.
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Territory. Keelo Trees, as already mentioned, are most abundantly encountered in the personal gardens of the
Krean, which they cultivate for its fruit. Some Krean have planted Keelos in the surrounding area to attract a whole manner of animals towards their cities, such as the friendly jupa ape or the majestic le’tan bird. As such they are more commonly found growing wildly in the areas around Krean settlements but they are, in rare occurrences, found in other forests on Shar. Some even claim to have found Keelos in the Drifting Woods towards the north of the continent. Return to the top

Usages. The most obvious use for a Keelo Tree is its fruit. The fruit of the Keelo Tree is very sweet and fleshy, and, due to its vibrant red colour, is very attractive. It is normally eaten raw or glazed in the sweet sticky substance found in their cocoons and grilled.

Keelos are not just popular with the tribes in the rainforest, but (also) with many herbivorous animals. Due to their attractiveness to creatures of the rainforest they are regularly planted by the Krean with the intention to attract them. Some of the most popular animals in the rainforest, like the jupa ape, feast on the fruit but are quite shy, so being surrounded by a plentiful source of food is a sure way to earn their trust.
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Reproduction. Keelo Trees tend to rely on the animals that they feed to help them reproduce. From anytime between the Awakening Earth and Rising Sun a Keelo may produce ripe fruit. The cocoon is normally broken from the tree and the insides eaten by the animal, normally the core included. The miniscule core breaks down in the animal’s stomach, releasing the seeds. The animal will undoubtedly leave the site of the tree to look for more food (or whatever the said animal does). When the animal excretes the digested contents of the Keelofruit the seeds are spread. The digested food also has fertilising qualities, making the growing of the tree that much easier.

Some problems can occur with this method of reproduction. One of the most common problems that crops up is when the seeds are digested by the animals that eat the fruit, wasting the opportunity of a new tree being formed.

After around two years the tree will reach three quarters of its height (they grow incredibly quickly) and will, around this point, begin producing Keelofruit.
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Myth/Lore. It is believed that drinking a couple of mugs of the liquid which Keelofruit is coated in has powerful aphrodisiacal properties. It is normally sold bottled in various towns and cities by travelling merchants all around Nybelmar. Nobody is sure whether this actually works, as there are equal arguments for and against its effectiveness. Some claim it has a deceiving effect, because if the customer believes it works they subconsciously ‘perform’ better.
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 Date of last edit 27th Sleeping Dreameress 1666 a.S.

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