THE TEKI TREE

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - MYTH/LORE

The Teki Tree is a small and measly berries-producing tree which can be found mainly in north eastern parts of Santharia. It grows even in rough and snowy terrain, where it serves as a scarce source of food for animals and people alike. Though the berries taste bitter and dry, they are often a welcomed by travellers in the cold north. The pits of the plant, the deep red Teki Seeds, are also used for dying clothes to the colour red.

The Teki Tree
View picture in full size Image description. A small Teki Tree as it can be found in the mountains of the Tandala Highlands. Pic by Quellion.

Appearance. The basic, standard structure of the Teki Tree is a skinny, pale barked trunk with maybe 6 branches sprouting out and upwards. The branches are twisted and gnarled, with yellow leaves and edible, bitter black berries hanging on the ends of them. The tree stands no more than about one ped high with a spread of a few thin, sparse branches with big black berries drooping down in the fall and late summer. Any farmers looking to make a few gold coins in the cloth dying market plant the tree in long, straight rows and harvest the berries for its pits, the deep red Teki Seed.

The tree is best described as measly. It has only a few twisted branches sprouting from its thin white skinned trunk, with pointy yellow leaves and fat black berries hanging off them. It grows neither large, nor fast. The tree takes 7 years to reach a stage in growth where it can produce its own seeds, so itís an investment to get into the Teki seed market. The entire life span of the tree can reach upwards to 80 years, but generally they die out around 50-60 years old.
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Territory. This tree is grown mainly in the Santharian province of Enthronia, while it does not only prosper here, this is the main area of Caelereth that has a market for its seed. All over the world of Caelereth, cloth is dyed red by this seed, but Carmalad is the foremost city of cloth dyers, so here is the market. Degenerated versions of the tree can also be found futher north in the province of Nermeran, where they even grow in the snow covered Tandala Highlands.

The tree is not a bountiful producer, and neither does it ever look particularly healthy, but it thrives in the soil of the North East of Santharia, and there it stays. Teki farms are usually vast, with many leagues to a single farmer, for the harvest from each tree is generally low and a single man can run his own thousand trees with ease. This tree also does grow in the wild, but it tends to do poorly, and it only grows in small clumps of a few to an area. Other areas of the world have tried to grow this tree, but have had difficulty with it. Most say this is because you can never move a Teki Tree or seed more than a league from its mother tree. This may be myth, but it seems to be real, at least to all the Teki farmer wannabes that couldnít get a tree to grow.
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Usages. The Teki Tree has only one use that we know of other than consumption, which is for dying cloth the colour red. When the pits are taken and crushed into a smeary paste, it can be mixed with boiling water to produce a deep blood red liquid, used to dye cloth. The dying process, though, does emit an awfully offensive smell, and therefore the treeís seeds have become less popular, although some dyers still prefer the colour given by the red seeds, regardless of the stench. The berries can be eaten, and are, but this is not widely done, for it tastes bitter and dry.
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Myth/Lore. It is said that the Teki Tree was first found to be useful by a man who was eating the bitter berries. The farmer found the berries to be disgusting, so he then spit into his handkerchief. After he withdrew his hanky later that day, he found the colour was stained a rich, full red colour. The rest is history.
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