THE WATERLEAF ("DYER'S GREEN", "FALSE WATERSTAR")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The Waterleaf is a common waterplant of Southern Sarvonia with long, floating stalks and short leaves of various greens which grows in shallow, streaming, fresh water. It is used for dyeing and is referred to in some circles as the "Dyer's Green". Another common name for this plant is "Etherus’ Smirk", a reference to the medicinal properties of its stalk, which is an important ingredient in a remedy for acratia. As the waterleaf is easily confused with the waterstar - a plant associated with the Water Goddess Baveras - it is named "False Waterstar" also.

The Waterleaf
View picture in full size Image description. A batch of Waterleaf as it grows at a Baveras shrine in the Manthrian fishing village of Nepris. Picture by Talia Sturmwind.

Appearance. The False Waterstar’s leaves come in many shades of green, from a light gnastheen to the deep green colour of the peace pine needles. Once its tiny seeds nestle in the bed of a river with clear streaming water, roots take hold and soon stalks shoot up towards the water surface. There are many variations of the plant all over Sarvonia, which differ in the sizes and shapes of their leaves, but generally it can be described this way: Pale green leaves grow out of the stalks, alternately on each side at a distance of two nailsbreadths. The leaves themselves are about four nailsbreadths long and two broad. They are flat and thin, sit on a short stem, have a rounded base, but an acuminate tip. Their tiny veins give them a delicate structure.

The taller a stalk grows, the more it is exposed to the river current, which will bend it into a horizontal position. The stalks can reach a length of up to three peds - but as the plant wants to grow towards the light as most do, "branches" sprout upwards out of the horizontal floating stalks, and light green leaves emerge which get darker with time. Then the current bends these new offshoots as well, new stalks grow out of these, and so forth. So a bed of Waterleaves can very well reach a height of nearly a ped, depending on the depth of the creek. The oldest leaves, those close to the bottom of the river, are of the darkest green; the younger a leaf, the lighter its hue. The greens all tend to be more bluish in colour than yellow. Only leaves which are exposed to the air will turn to a kind of herne green, called "oleaf" by the dyers, probably derived from "old leaf", meaning worthless leaf.

Once the last stalk is close enough to the surface, little "twigs" will grow towards it, where they sprout smaller leaves and a flower bud develops above the surface. Only when the sun is shining on these buds will they open and display six pale blue, green rimmed, pointed petals and a red inner core. The flowers are only one and a half nailsbreadth in diameter, but of an exquisite design.
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Territory. The Waterleaf grows in cold, streaming water, in rivulets, creeks and rivers, as long as they are not deeper than about a ped. Mainly at home in Southern
Sarvonia, it has spread to Nybelmar and Northern Sarvonia also, thriving in regions with a moderate climate. Recent research has found that it dies in areas where too many people live upstream in close vicinity. Pikel Thunderstone, a green druid, claims that this is due to human wastes dumped into the rivers which poison the water and cause Waterleaves to wither. Return to the top

Usages. There are several usages for the Waterleaf, here a few examples:

Reproduction. As described above, little buds emerge over the water‘s surface which open to pale blue blooms. They flower for a few days at some point between the months of Rising Sun and Fallen Leaf, build out many tiny seeds which are carried away by the wind for a short or sometimes greater distance, until they are dumped, if lucky, in another suitable body of water. Or they float downstream until they are soaked with water, sink down and are carried by the current, until they find a suitable place to root. In winter the plant dies, if the rivers are freezing to the ground, but out of a well developed rootsystem a new plant can grow in spring. In warmer areas, the Waterleaf can survive for years, but it may well happen that suddenly a whole bed dies off, due to lack of enough nutrients in the ground or other unknown reasons. Return to the top

The Baveras Shrine Floor
View picture in full size Image description. The actual Baveras shrine floor, all complete with a waterleaf plant and fishes. Picture drawn by Talia Sturmwind.

Myth/Lore. The Waterleaf is very often mistaken for the waterstar, a similar plant that is associated with the Sea Goddess Baveras. The ability to distinguish the two plants is important, since the waterstar and its fruits, the starberries, have potent healing qualities while the Waterleaf has none. This confusion of one plant for another even led to the ornamentation of Baveras‘s shrines with depictions of the Waterleaf instead of the waterstar, as one can see from the excavation of an old floor when a new bridge north of Lorehaven over the Griffon River was about to be constructed in the month of changing winds in 1670 a.S. The mosaic is complete and shows the petals of a Waterleaf. Meanwhile a plant has settled in the niches between the granite slabs where in former times wooden columns were placed - the Waterleaf, in two of its variations.

Of course Etherus is said to have had his hands in the creation of the Waterleaf. After the Weather God Grothar had presented his love Baveras with the waterstar with all the benefits it has especially for pregnant women and as the starberries became a symbol for pure love, Etherus was looking for a way to deceive the virtuous and to smuggle into their pious love lives the aspect of lust, of forbidden pleasure. One day, when he was in a particularly grouchy mood, he went along a river, looking with displeasure at the waterstar, when his gaze fell upon another waterplant. It had long stalks and small leaves like the waterstar, but its blossoms were of bright hue from Sor‘inyt orange to Aeruillin red. Each of the six petals had a dark coloured rim. "Six", he smiled, "how fortunate", for the waterstar also had six petals, though they were formed differently. And he bent down to the Waterleaf, his hand hovered over it and the bloom began to fade, until it was of a light blue with a darker green rim only. Etherus had stolen the Waterleaf the oranges and reds, the colours which are associated with him. From this day on the Waterleaf was called "False Waterstar" or "Etherus‘ Smirk". It is commonly believed that Baveras doesn‘t mind when a worshipper uses the Waterleaf, instead of her true flower, the waterstar, as long as the worshipper's heart is true in its belief.

Receipt for Waterleaf Stalks

served in the Stratanian establishment 'Beauty of the South'
(serves two)

Take about an od of fresh Waterlesfstalks that were kept in water since the time of their picking. Remove the leaves carefully, set them aside for decoration. Cut the stalks into about fingerlong sticks and put them in lightly salted, boiling water for about as long as it takes to sing that four line chant;

Waterleaf, oh waterleaf
Help me keep my love
For I shall surely drown in grief
Without my little dove

Waterleaf, oh waterleaf
Help me keep my love
For I fear a ruthless thief
Will steal my little dove

Waterleaf, oh waterleaf
Help me keep my love
For never can I find relief
Without my little dove

Take them out and put them in cold water to keep them firm to the bite. Drain the water away and marinate them for a whole day according to your preference, for example:

Sweet Lady

1/2 ladle salt
1/2 ladle foridite
2 tablespoons apple vinegar
1 tablespoon oil of sunflowers
Some basiloc, very finely chopped
Some dochnuts, finely chopped

Before serving put a puff or greenpfepp over it and add some of the fresh leaves put aside at the beginning.

Served with roasted blue waterleaf perch or the red-shelled tent snail and accompanied by a light white wine it is an excellent meal. A Stratanian Injeruillin or a Twilight‘s Hearth as after dinner drink will perfect it.

Served with roasted blue waterleaf perch or the redshelled tentsnail and accompanied by a light white wine it is an excellent meal. A Stratanian Injeruillin or a Twilight‘s Hearth as after dinner drink will perfect it.
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 Date of last edit 17th Frozen Rivers 1670 a.S.

Information provided by Talia Sturmwind View Profile