THE PONDPAD WATERPLANT

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Pondpad is a well-known plant that grows mostly in slow-moving streams and waterways. Most recognize the plant by the circular pad that floats on top of the water. While generally these are quite small, between a palmspan to a fore, there are some rare varieties discovered to be up to three peds in diameter.

Pondpads in a murky lake

Image description. A murky lake featuring a multitude of waterplants including the common pondpads. Picture by Eratin.

Appearance. The Pondpad is an aquatic plant that grows underwater except for the pad, which floats on top of the water. It is a light color of green, and has a radial pattern of lines coming from the center. Underneath the pad, roots grow down to the bottom of the waterway that it is growing in, anchoring it so that it won’t be washed away. The roots are a green of such a pale hue that it seems to be almost white. Although they grow generally only from a palmspan to a fore, in deeper water some have been found that grow up to three peds in diameter. The larger ones have a thickness of almost a palmspan, but the smaller ones are generally between two grains and a nailsbreadth. Return to the top

Territory. The Pondpad grows generally in waterways that are slow moving, and never get frozen over. If it gets a heavy frost, the plant can die, and if the
water is frozen it will definitely perish. It generally is found only in parts of southern Sarvonia, in Santharia, and only at low elevations. Some frost-resistant breeds have been found as far north as the Celeste Lowlands, but these are more uncommon than the other types. The largest Pondpads can only be found in the more secluded parts of Santharia. Return to the top

Usages. The Pondpad is not edible in its full grown state, as it produces a toxin that most animals cannot tolerate. It is not fatal, but the effect being immobile for a day or so could easily make one prey for another animal. The young plants, however, are using all of their energy for growing, and do not produce toxin. Some animals will eat the non-adult plants, but humans find it unpalatable.

The largest pads can be used as quick boats by people dwelling along lakes, and are cut loose. Unfortunately, this practice has decimated the populations of the Greater Pondpad, and they are now only found in secluded areas. Research has been going on as to the possibility of growing their roots up into containers of soil and fertilizer instead of down into the depths of lakes, and if this works out, a cheap method of boat-building could be put into use. The only people to have been able to use this and not destroy the population of Pondpad are the elves of the Efferin Delta on the Isle of Denilou, through careful growth and harvesting.
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Reproduction. The plant reproduces only once during its life cycle. At this time, a seed will grow at each of the radial lines, and just underneath the surface of the
water. As they begin to develop roots and seek the bottom, the seedlings will be released. They are slightly lighter than water, so they will float with a tiny part above the water until their roots reach the bottom. Only the ones that can reach this point while still being in relatively calm water before the week is out will survive. If they root in water that is flowing too swiftly, the roots will be strained, and the plant will eventually die. If they cannot root within the week, the food supply provided by the seed will be exhausted, and the seed will no longer be able to root. Once they reach bottom, the plant will grow quickly, and reach full size in three to four weeks. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. A popular tale among Santharians involves a young girl who was running from a demon. The gitl could not swim, and she came up upon a lake. Knowing she could not survive, she chose to drown instead of being eaten by the tam-rek. Although the demon could not reach her, for water was anathema to it, she was going to die anyway. But is is told that the Goddess Jeyriall saw her drowning, and had pity on her. The girl clutched in desperation to some Pondpads, simply for lack of anything stronger to hold on to. The Goddess caused one of the small Pondpads to grow to a massive size, and the girl was able to clamber onto it. The demon waited for a day and a night, until a search party came upon them, and drove the tam-rek finally off. In various versions of the story, the demon left as soon as it heard the group of men, but in some more vicious renditions, it took a few lives with it.
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