THE PILLAR TREE

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Pillar Tree, known to the elves as Injèr'seliáni (Styrásh lit. "Sun-beckoner"), is a large, rare tree of the northern shores of Nybelmar, only abundant deep within the Phéd'lón woods northeast of Moredein Kaerath.

Appearance. The Pillar Tree has, as its name might suggest, a huge columnar trunk of a cinnabrown-like colour with eophran streaks, and ranging up to a ten ped diameter. It is completely smooth, and reaches into the sky for up to an amazing height of more than a dash. There, safely above any other tree, it bears two rings of giant gnastheen-coloured leaves, with the main veins being of a slightly darker hue. The topmost of these circles consists of three, the bottom one of five leaves, evenly spaced out along the circle, like the spokes on a wheel. These leaves are egg-shaped, and usually two thirds of the trunks base diameter long, and half as wide. They are thick and leathery, and often slightly encrusted with small salt crystals. An interresting fact is that the leaves turn during the day to follow the sun, and curl up into slender rolls during the night, which has led to the tree's elvish name Injèr'seliáni, meaning something along the lines of "Who-Beckons-The-Sun". It bears greenish flowers, which are hidden between the two layers of leaves, and generally too small to see from the ground.
 
The roots of this longliving tree (often living for more than five hundred years) have long been mysterious and unknown. Fortunately, the Nybelmar have been able to provide the Compendium with more details. According to their account, the Pillar Trees appear to delve straight down with a main root, which starts to grow 'fingers' spreading out parallel to the seabed at about half a ped deep. How deep the main root actually goes is unknown, but the Mer claim never to have seen the end of one.

It may be noted that this tree never grows outside of the water. The reason so many are found in comparatively 'dry ground' in the Drifting Woods is that they are actually rooted in the seabed, and rise up through the dark waters of the Tanglewaters below, piercing the layer of plant remains and knotted roots to rise up into the sunlight above. This performs a very important function; the trees are the anchors for the entire forest, and prevent it from being torn to pieces by the tides.

Due to its marine habitat, its wood and leaves contain so much salt and other sea-derived minerals that they have become unedible to nearly every animal while the tree itself remains alive. Only after its death the concentration slowly weakens to more acceptable norms as the tree no longer actively keeps the salt inside with the flow of its sap, allowing it to disperse back into the sea. Only then may fungi and insects start to feast on the remains.
Return to the top

Territory. This tree has as of yet not been found beyond the continent of
Nybelmar. A tree highly dependent on salt water for its development from fruit to seed, as mentioned in the Reproduction section, it has only been reported to grow sporadically along the shores of the Maren Nybeth, the northern coastline of Nybelmar. The sole place large stands of these trees may be found are the Drifting Woods in the northwest of the Moredein Kaerath, where they seem to flourish in great numbers throughout the entire forest, protected from harvesting by the human inhabitants of these woods. The Pillar Tree prefers tropic to semi-tropic conditions, but apart from its high dependancy on salt water, it does not seem to be to choosy about where it grows. Return to the top

Usages. The wood of this tree is tough and always perfectly straight, and as such would be very well-suited for use as mastwood in shipyards, supporting columns for large structures, and framework for bridges and the like. However, the small amount of available trees makes this an uncommon usage. Because harvesting the trees would eventually lead to the disruption of their home, the humans of the Drifting Woods do not allow the cutting down of their trees, no matter how much might be offered in return, primarily because the trees serve to anchor the Drifting Woods into place.

The bark of a dead Pillar Tree may be cured by drenching it in a mixture of ashes, salt water, and various herbal extracts, and then worked into soft, long fibers from which the women of the Drifting Woods make high-quality ropes, which may last for decades of heavy use before eventually wearing out.
Return to the top

Reproduction. The tree blossoms every fifth year after reaching adulthood at about 40 years. The flowers develop in pairs below the upper leaves, and are a pale green color, etched with white veins and are about the size of a human fist. If the flower is pollinated by the wind, it developes into one globular fruit about a fore in diameter during the next three years. The fruit, called a Driftseed, is then shed, and drifts on the water in for about a year. In the Drifting Woods, the inhabitants often toss fallen seeds into the sea when they land on the ground, to aid them. After a year of soaking in the sea, the salt water has corroded the outer shell to the point it enables the seed within to start growing, sending a dangling main root into the water, trying to find safe ground. Provided the Driftseed has reached shore, it then takes root in the coastal shallows, able to settle in waters up to fifteen peds deep. Many seeds are lost, never finding a safe shore to take root, sinking away into the depths of the ocean.
Return to the top

Myth/Lore. A children's tale about the Pillar Trees, commonly told among inhabitants of the smaller coastal settlements along the Maren Nybeth claims the trees are truly the wives of the fishermen lost at sea in a dreadful storm many ages ago. The wives, left behind, gathered at the shores to look out over the sea, desperately hoping they would see a sign that told them their husbands were still alive. As the years passed them by, their body was turned to wood by the brine, and their hair, dancing in the wind, became a great ring of leaves. It is said they still await the return of their men, who will come back to them when such a storm ravages the shores again, breaking the trees to free the spirits within, and reunite them with their beloved. Should a tree be destroyed before this time, the soul will go wandering along the shores until a new seedling settles in, and becomes the new home of the lost spirit.
Return to the top

 Date of last edit 5th Rising Sun 1666 a.S.

Information provided by Miraran Tehuriden View Profile