THE KAZAI ROSE

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

This low-growing rose, resembling a creeping vine more than the more common bush-shape of wild roses, is a popular plant from the Moredein Kaerath on Nybelmar where it thrives on the relatively alchalic soil. Its highly fragrant flowers are a valuable resource for the making of various perfumes, and have most certainly been a key reason for its rapid spread as a potted plant.

Appearance. The Kazai Rose is a small, many-thorned creeping vine growing not more than twenty nailsbreadths high. Its green bark, often striped with deep browns on older stems, has two to four short but sturdy thorns at each node, leaf base, or intersection, which can be quite painful, and function to deter any animal who would feed off this plant. The leaves are heavily lobed, so much even that most will appear to consist of a trio of leaves attached to a common stem. However, close inspection usually reveals small strips of leaf interconnecting the three subleaves.

The stems are quite capable of taking root wherever a node rests on the ground, making it often impossible to properly identify the place where the plant started growing. As each rooted node starts growing its own stems, large fields of this plant can arise within only a few years' time.

The Kazai Rose bears its small flowers, which are no more than two and a half
nailsbreadths wide, all throughout the year. Although flowers take longer to mature and are far less prolific during the cooler months than at other times, it is not uncommon to see a hillside doted with small specks of bright colour during even the coldest periods of the year. During summer however, the Kazai Rose can provide a spectacular festival of colours to the low hills covering most of the region as it bears hundreds of flowers at the same time, which is typically best seen from a high point, such as the upper regions of the thorncloud tree. The flowers are quite uncommon for a wild rose; filled with up to twelve wrinkled circles of petals they take on the general shape of a half-sphere. Although they can be coloured anything from white to yellow, orange and deep red, each plant produces only one distinct shade of flowers, and cultivated plants from cuttings will retain that particular colouration.
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Territory. As the name implies, the Kazai Rose is only found in the wild on the Moredein Kaerath, better known as the Kazai Morchin-i. It seems to need the local, rather alchaline soil to allow its seeds to germinate properly, as most attempts to introduce this plant in other areas have failed, or produced awkwardly crooked vines that fail to produce flowers. However, cuttings taken from this rose are quick to take root, and will grow and flower properly in almost any kind of soil as long as the humidity level is not too high, as this plant is prone to 'drowning' in very wet ground. It may freeze during harsh winters, but usually grows new shoots the next year, especially if the centre of the plant is covered with a bit of straw beforehand. As a result, this particular rose is rather popular as a potted plant, often placed in a high place to allow its stems to cascade over a rack or down a wall. It can be found throughout most of the nations of Nybelmar, and the first cutting to survive the long journey to Sarvonia, a bright yellow variety, arrived in the Santharian Compendium's greenhouses in late 1505. Since then, more colours have been successfully introduced to the Santharian provinces, and can be found in many large gardens. It is said that the wonderful yellow Kazai Rose in the Royal Palace Gardens in New-Santhala is in fact a cutting directly taken from that first plant, although it is more likely that it has been replaced with a cutting of its own vines several times.
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Usages. Apart from being a grateful garden plant in many places, the Kazai Rose is much sought after by perfume makers. It's delicate, fresh but sweet scent can be pressed from the flowers by alchemists, producing a potent scented oil that can be turned into a simple, rose scented perfume directly, or mixed with other scents for more complex perfumes, such as the famous, and very expensive "Queen of Kaerath", which has been much coveted by noble ladies around the northern bay for centuries.

In Santharia a less expensive variation on that, "Kazai Princess", has been recently developed by Aescula Onguentus, a lady gnome who is co-owner of "Red Lysh Love Scents", a cosmetics and perfumery shop in New-Santhala.

Alternatively, the flowers may be picked about a day before opening, dried, and used in small quantities to add a sweet aroma and aftertaste to herbal infusions. Too great a dose however will spoil the infusion, not only making it sickeningly sweet to drink but also causing intestinal cramps and slight headaches.

Also, the highly healthful hips can be picked and eaten booth cooked and raw, although the taste is extremely sour and rarely appreciated, it can be a very sustaining emergency dish.
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Reproduction. The flowers of the Kazai Rose may be pollinated by any kind of insect seeking to feast on the rich nectar hidden deep between the dense petals, but small species of malise seem to be suited best for this task, often building their nest in the middle of a large patch of roses to ensure a continuous food source. After pollination, the rose eventually withers, and forms the typical rosehip also known from the more common roses. It will eventually reach a size of just over three nailsbreadths, and about half as wide, before turning a dark, blotched purple, indicating the seeds within are ripe. Eaten mainly by birds, the hip is too sour to most humans' taste, but can be a very healthful emergency food supply. The seeds are scattered by the dropping of the birds who have fed on the hips, and usually germinate within four weeks, provided they landed on a suitable patch of soil. Due to its rapid growth, the new plant may be flowering for the first time within only three months.
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Myth/Lore. With such a prolific amount of seeds available, it is only for the best there are various animals who are able to either bypass the thorns, or are not injured when eating them. The nibakku, or giant tarep, is one of those animals, although it can no longer be found in the wild, as are the gnawthorn swarms that often live in and around thorncloud trees. Furthermore, it can in some circumstances be infected with a white mold, especially on older plants, that will cause it to wither and die within the year. Although these "predators" can be a tremendous problem for gardeners, they have also ensured that this fast-growing and rapidly reproducing plant has not covered the entire plains, and with the ease with which a cutting can be taken to replace a diseased or ravaged plant, it might be a setback, but rarely a true disaster for the owners of a Kazai Rose.
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 Date of last edit 13th Fallen Leaf 1668 a.S.

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