The Lampstalk is a plant that is naturally luminescent. It grows on a long stalk, and has one flower whose pollen glows brightly at night after sunny days. It is used as a lamp, or as a substitute torch: pull out your knife and cut at the bottom of the plant, and you have light!
The plant, during most of the year, consists of many long leaves sticking up
from the ground from one place. These can get to be about a fore long, and a
dark green color, though some older plants have been known to grow leaves a two
fores long before they die. During the spring, a stalk begins to grow out of the
top, and looks just like a lance in miniature. Later in the summer, this part of
the plant may be as much as two peds high on the largest plants, and as short as
a ped with smaller ones. During this time, the bud begins to develop, getting
quite large. By autumn this flower is fully developed. Before opening, it looks
almost like an ear of corn, two palmspans long, but much thicker at the bottom
than the top. In late autumn, just before the winter chills begin, it will open
and expose a glowing flower that still looks like an ear of corn, but the inside
part. The "petals" on the sides remain curled outwards. The inside is yellow,
but the pollen glows a pale cream color. The stalk, at this point, may be four
nailsbreadths in diameter. Finally, after the flower dies, the stalk will fall
to the ground and wither, leaving only the straight leaves at the base. In
warmer climates, the plant will lose the stalk, then immediately begin to grow a
new one, for the winter chill isn't too cold for it.
Territory. This plant lives in the temperate zones of mid Sarvonia, but has been transported south to the United Kingdom of Santharia, where it spread rapidly because of the easier climate. Because of the milder climates in the far south, it blooms all of the year with the exception of late winter. Brownies have their own version of this plant, except quite a bit smaller, that they grow in their vales.
Lampstalk must live in a location that it has about half of a day of direct sunlight, but still not too little for the plant to survive. Therefore, it will live on the sides of steep valleys, or at the edges of meadows, where it only gets sun for about half of the time. Any other place, and it will die.
Usages. The obvious use for this plant is as a lamp, but some cultures have taken to weaving its leaves into baskets. These, if weaved tightly, are capable of holding water, so the plant is valued highly in some places. This method is easier than pottery, and used more often where the plant grows. Often tribes use the glowing pollen from this plant to make glowing paint for rituals. It doesn’t work long term, because the light-gathering parts die after losing contact with the plant for some period of time. One must be careful when gathering Lampstalk pollen, because it is extremely hard to get out of clothing and hair, or even off of skin.
Reproduction. The plant glows so that it can attract insects, most of which come towards light sources, especially at might. They pollinate the plants quite efficiently. It is a sight much appreciated to walk through a glade and see a grove of these, accompanied by a cloud of moths and other night insects. They are lit by the light, and the brighter colored moths give an interesting tint. Of course, few people would wish to walk through a cloud of insects, so it may also be a pain to some travellers.
A certain type of bird also uses the pollen of this plant for its mating rituals, rubbing the colors from a couple plants over its feathers, causing it to glow brightly. This practice also pollinates the plant. The bird is called the Nightswoop, and often surprises people outside; it is quite unnerving to have a flash of light dive past your face.
Myth/Lore. These plants were said to be created by one of the Chosen, from a plant that occupied the niche it does today at that time. These plants were more successful, though, and the other species died out. Brownies, shortly after the stalk was created, took it and shrunk it down in size for use in their vales. Both have spread, and the smaller kind decorate many human vases as well as the Brownie homes.
Information provided by Stormcrow