THE KELL HERB

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Kell herb is an aromatic flowering plant, not quite leafy enough to be called a shrub, with tall beautiful flowers. It grows mainly in the mid-southern regions of Santharia, though it has spread to some more northern regions where the climate is similar.

The Kell Herb

View picture in full size Image description. The aromatic flowering Kell Herb with its tall and beautiful flowers. Pic by Jeshannon.

Appearance. The Kell herb begins life as a seed about a nailsbreadth long. The seed is dark yellow and smooth when it is newly formed, but as it grows mature it lightens in color and becomes wrinkled. When planted in moist, cool soil in the early spring, the seed will grow. First, the roots grow; they are also pale yellow, and are very thin and fine. A shoot appears soon afterward. In the beginning, it is pale green and fragile, but as it grows it strengthens and deepens in color. Eventually, they grow tough and fibrous. Leaves grow soon after the shoot appears. In shape, they are similar to a sword blade, long and very thin. In their maturity, they can grow to be about a ped. They are curiously coloured, dark and light green marbled together. They grow from the base of the plant, leaving the stalk bare, and about two and a half fores long, until the flowers grow. The stem and the leaves are highly aromatic, releasing a heady sweet scent similar to that of the rik’tyan but stronger. They release this scent all of their lives.

After the Kell Herb has been growing for four to five months, tiny blue buds begin to form all up and down the stalk. There are always an odd number of buds on a stalk, usually thirteen or fifteen. Over the next month, the buds swell. They also change colour; the colour they turn determines what colour the flowers inside will be when they bloom. They either darken until they are deep sapphire blue, or they lighten until they are barely blue at all, just green as the stalk. When the buds reach about two nailsbreadths across, they stop growing and sun themselves for about three days, and then are finally ready to bloom.

The deep blue buds blossom into purple flowers, and the green buds blossom into pink ones. Sometimes, the buds do not darken or lighten as much as usual, and the flowers that grow are a sort of in-between colour, a purplish-pink. The blooms are about half a palmspan across. The petals are very thin and feathery. There are about fifteen of them attached to each flower, and they are loosely attached to the head of the flower and hang down like a bell. They are known as “Kellflowers”. They are not highly aromatic, though the scent of the stem and leaves sometimes fools people into believing that they do have a strong scent. The blooms are hardy and stay on the plant for about three weeks before the petals shrivel, turn brown, and fall off the plant.

After the petals fall off, the berries (the part of the flower the petals were attached to before they fell), which were either deep blue or green depending on what colour the buds had been before the flowers bloomed, turn a uniform deep blue. Right after the petals fall, the berries are barely half a nailsbreadth across, but in the following two weeks they swell to be almost two nailsbreadths across. By this time, it is usually mid autumn. If there are birds around to eat the berries, the seeds are deposited wherever the birds fly. If the birds aren’t around or don’t eat the berries, they will stay ripe for less than a week before starting to dry out. This process is fast, and before five days are past the berries will have lost almost all colour and will have split to show the seeds inside. They are about a nailsbreadth long and dark yellow and smooth, and after sunning themselves for a week or so, they lighten in colour and wrinkle and are then ready for planting.
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Territory. The Kell Herb grows all over southern Santharia, but it tends to cluster most thickly in the provinces of Manthria and Sanguia, generally along the banks of rivers like the Thaehelvil. It is also known to grow along the Ravenwing Falls and the river that feeds it. The Kell needs a moist environment to grow, and while it will grow in other areas, river valleys are its favoured environment.
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Usages. Various parts of the plant can be used in different ways. Here's a short overview, split up at the single components:

Reproduction. The Kell Herb reproduces using a seed. After the flowers bloom, they release tiny pollen particles, which ride the wind until it is deposited, hopefully on another Kellflower. Kellflowers can also be pollinated by flowers of other species. When the flower is pollinated, a seed begins to form inside what will be the berry once the petals fall off. Whether the flower is pollinated or not, a berry will form, but if the flower isn’t pollinated there will be no seed inside the berry. Because the flowers are roughly bell-shaped and it is difficult for the pollen to blow into them, seeds are rarer than in most plants, and so are prized. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. Nothing is known about the origins of the plant. The name came from the region around the Ravenwing Falls. The plant was named after a young man named Kell who perpetually had huge amounts of energy; the effects of the plant were seen to be similar to his normal state, so the people who knew him laughingly named it the Kell Herb, and thus the name spread.
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Information provided by Erynn Fenteriel View Profile