Waterstar is a water plant, often named "Baveras' Gift" due to its medical
usage, its fruits are known as Starberries. Elves refer to the Waterstar as
This lovely waterplant with its white petals growing just over the surface and small green under water leaves is very common. It grows in big numbers in sweet water in rivers and lakes, in a slight variation in saltwater as well. Very huge patches are found on the open sea, looking like an island from afar when flowering. The Waterstar is dedicated to the Goddess of Water, Baveras, and seen as her favourite flower. A few medical usages, all connected with the water in some way, is reason for the other name it is known for, Baveras Gift. In rare cases it can be mistaken from a distance for the tyrscaru.
From its berries, called Waterstar Berries or short Starberries, a very delicate, healthy, but expensive fruit paste is made.
Image description: The lovely Waterstar. Pic drawn by Talia.
lovely plant has a bloom flowering just above the water surface, about half a
handspan or less. The six petals are of a pure white, with a transparent
quality, and about half a nailsbreath long. They
evolve out of one base and are placed symmetrically around a small light green
middle with a lot of very tiny pink filaments, surrounding three to nine anthers
and a small pistil. Around this middle six little green leaves are placed
symmetrically, matching the outer ones. They stay with the berry when the white
petals are gone. This gives them a starlike appearance.
The blooms sit on dark green stalks which have a wreath of six dark green lance-like leaves every handspan, the top one of these circles lying on the surface of the water. These stalks are up to about three peds long, depending on the depth of the water they are floating in. The variety growing in the open sea may have stalks up to ten peds long. From one main stem several smaller derive, each one dividing itself after a certain length. The stalks of the different stems tend to grow into each other, thus forming a bunch of green underwater leaves, which can't be divided anymore. This provides shelter for a lot of smaller water animals, but makes harvesting of the evolving berries difficult. The leaves have tiny openings to take in the nutrients transported past them.
The plant has sometimes roots, but they have the only purpose of holding it into a certain place in fast streaming young rivers. The size of the plants, its petals and leaves and the number of individuals vary strongly due to the availability of nutrients in the water the plant is living from. So in fast flowing rivers which have only poor nutrients, the flower's leaves are smaller than in places with an abundance of nutrients, where they can cover an area of several furlongs in every direction or more. The seawater variety is in general a bit bigger and rougher than the sweetwater one. When the waterstar starts growing roots and how this is triggered is not yet know.
Territory. The Waterstar can be found mainly in Sarvonia, smaller patches are reported from Nybelmar and other islands and continents as well. However, the plant seems to be native in Sarvonia and was only recently spread with ships travelling from continent to continent from here to the other places.
The Waterstar doesn't grow well in very extreme conditions, though one is often surprised in which locations it can survive. It is found in every streaming river and in lakes with water currents. However, the Waterstar doesn't like still standing water. Therefore it is widespread where the Cylian River joins the Ancythrian Sea, but there are none at its southern tip. There the transport of valuable nutrients past the intaking openings seems not strong enough. The salt water variety is found mostly all around the Sarvonian continent, for which no explanations are found yet apart that is has its origin here. But one would expect that a plant growing in the open sea for a long time should be found elsewhere, transported by water currents and winds. Some people believe the Waterstar grows only well in the neighbourhood of people believing in Baveras. This is seen as reason for their great abundance in the Cyon Sola Bay, where the Sanhorrhim Elves go fishing and near the temples of Baveras like the one around Cap Strata, where this magnificent temple represents the most southern building on the Sarvonian continent. However, the plant is found in Northern Sarvonia as well, though not so widespread as elsewhere.
Usages. The Waterstar is valuable to the people mainly as a medical herb. All its parts are used and have special effects on the body. In general they are good for illnesses of the water system of the body. There is no difference between the salt- and fresh water varieties, though the saltwater ones have to be washed thoroughly first to remove the salt.
The leaves, freshly harvested and eaten as salad have a purifying effect on the whole body, not only that of the blood, and are able to remove any poisonous substances out of the body. Raw it has the best effect and regulates the digestion, is laxative and good against worms. A tea out of the leaves helps against diarrhoea and obstipation, depending on its strength.
Pressed to get the juice they are less effective, but can be used in moderate quantities without any side effect. The dried leaves are still useful, if no fresh leaves are available, though not as effective as the fresh ones. A powder of ground dried leaves is sometimes added to other food to make the Waterstar more digestible.
The stalks of the plant have a slightly different use. They are diuretic, sudatory and are therefore draining the water out of the body. This helps with heart problems, is good for thick legs due to fluid retention in old years or in the pregnancy. It helps by inflamed kidney and bladder and against incontingency.
The blooms themselves are collected as well sometimes and serve as a fresh tea with a taste so delicate that it is hard to describe. (If somebody wants to express, that something is very difficult to describe, he may say: "It is easier to describe the taste of the Waterstar bloom than this.") Some pregnant women eat the blooms itself - in secrecy - for though it is normally not held for true, some people believe, that eating Waterstar blooms favours the birth of a daughter instead of a son. If however a mother has given birth to an extremely beautiful son, or just wants to praise the child, people tease the parents asking: "Hey, have you eaten too many waterstar blooms?"
The berries, called shortly Starberries, have a medical use as well, for they are known to improve the health of ill and weak persons, to keep healthy persons healthy and especially are good for pregnant women to stay away from any illness and get vivid babies. But their main usage has exceeded that of a common medical plant.
The Starberries are not easy to harvest. They stay only for at least three days visible at the water surface until they drop down into the water floating there till a new plant evolves. These berries have lost their fine taste and their medical use is controversial. When touched or shattered they easily drop to the water and are lost. So harvesting requires a special skill and carefulness. It is often done by a Baveras Aider who swims through the Waterstar, a difficult task, and collects the berries in a tiny boat, called the Starberries boat.
But once sampled they are the main ingredient for the one of the most delicate fruit paste known. The white fleshed berries mix with the purple seed and the colour of this paste ranges from a soft rose to deep purple, depending how many seeds were added - or extracted beforehand, for the seeds itself are very valuable.
This fruit paste is of course scarce and therefore very expensive, but due to its healthiness it is used especially for pregnant woman. Each husband or future grandparent spare no effort to provide the expectant mother with this fruit paste.
It is not know, when the use of the Waterstar paste as a nutrient for mothers to be has first served as a means for husbands to tell their beloved wife their wish for a child without the need of using words. But nowadays it is common throughout Santharia and beyond its borders, by humans and elves alike (which is very rarely seen) that a husband gives a small jar of the Waterstar fruit paste to his wife as a sign of love - and his wish for a child, be it the first one or a later one. In the last decade the custom has even gone farer. So some shy men who don't dare to propose a marriage donate to their beloved ones, whom they wish to marry, a jar of this paste; this time it is recommended to take the dark purple variety.
There are other usages of the waterstar without medical purpose as well:
The juice of the leaves is, with some honey, harvested from a summer meadow, fermented. This gives a white vine with a light green shimmer, a very fine, but strong taste, though the liquid itself is fairly thick. This is the common Waterstar wine. Out of this wine, a spirit is distilled called Baveras L, with a green colour and quite a strong taste. Some people drinking this spirit say they do it only to maintain their health, because the original ingredients are so healthy, but due to the high content of alcohol this is very questionable.
The Starberry wine however is made from the berries only without the seeds and is very delicate with its fragrant taste, light, pure, clear, without any colour, but reflecting and breaking any light falling into. It is very seldom and expensive. And it is drunk at only one occasion: When two lovers try to fulfil what they started with donating and accepting the Starberry fruit paste.
Now a last usage has to be mentioned, though knowledge about it is little and not ensured. The seeds are, so people tell each other in secret, used by all Baveras Aids to get into contact with their Goddess and to do other things normal people are not able to. For this purpose they are fermented and used in combination with another drug, maybe arv, to produce a hallucinogen.
Not only humans or elves like these little waterflowers. For the rivermaids it is an essential part of their life - they use it to decorate themselves, binding skillfully wreaths out of it for their heads, necks or ankles. When tired of their adornments they just take it and eat it up. The Waterstar with all its parts is probably the rivermaids' most consumed food apart from fish and other wateranimals.
The blooms of the Waterstar are developing all year round, where weather
conditions allow it. They evolve finally, fertilised by the
wind, into small, white berries with purple
seeds in it, called Waterstar Berries or short Starberries. These berries can be
seen for a short time at the surface of the
water. Those not eaten and distributed by birds or fish drop into the water,
floating within the underwater green. In regions with cold winters and ice these
berries sink to the ground. The purple seeds seem to have a kind of
anti-freezing liquid in them, so they are able to start a new plant again, when
the water gets warmer.
Myth/Lore. The Waterstar is firmly connected to Baveras. The myth says, that Grothar wanted to give a flower to Baveras, with whom he had fallen in love, but all the waterplants were just green without any blooms. So he asked Jeyriall for some flowers with blooms, but she wasn't very happy for she had some differences with Baveras and feared for Grothar, that he might be hurt through Baveras wild, untamed nature. But he laughed only at her words, replying, that this was what attracted him, and that he was of the same kind sometimes. Finally she gave him an armful of the loveliest white flowers she had ever made, suitable to grow in water, the blooms with a starlike appearance, with the words: "For your love, who is like the stars: Always moving, impossible to hold tight, better to look at only from afar." Thus the Waterstar was born.
Why the blooms sit near the surface of the water has two explanations. In Southern Sarvonia the elders tell their children, that as Baveras got the flowers, she was so happy, that she wanted to share her happiness with the whole world. She gave the flowers all the healing qualities they have now. And she didn't want to hide the lovely blooms in the depth of her waters. Therefore she held them to the surface of the water and does this till today, so that all people are able to admire the gift Grothar gave her.
The Northern Sarvonian variety says, that Jeyriall had designed the flower this way to help Grothar. He should be able to see his love when she admired the flowers. Baveras herself didn't see the purpose behind this but was so delighted and pleased, that she gave the plant its healing properties.
So the Waterstar is called "Baveras' Gift" as well, but it is not clear if the gift refers to her giving it to the people or to Grothar giving a gift to her.
Information provided by Talia Sturmwind