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Author Topic: Rat Trap Vine/Herbarium/  (Read 7816 times)
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Grendal Thornfist
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« on: 11 July 2009, 11:00:55 »

** Pokes his head into the green house. After looking around he steps in brandishing a pair of hedge clippers menacingly**

Alrighty then, I didn't see any thing like it so 'eres me idea for a plant.** Holds it up proudly** Lemme tell ye about it.

Rat Trap Vine/ Herbarium


Categorization: Vines and Creepers

Overview:
A carnivorous vine found mainly in Northern Sarvonia, the Rat Trap is a unique and rather useful plant. A deep shade of green with small purple flowers this vine is also rather pleasing to the eye. The Rat Trap or Oyster Vine thrives in moist cooler climates, but some species have adapted the warmer more humid regions to the south. The most remarkable feature of this vine is its broad oyster shaped leaf like traps which, depending on the size and maturity of the plant, can entrap insects and even small animals such as rodents or lizards in order to feed.

Description:
The Rat Trap Vine begins its existence as a small seed of a dark brown colour with lighter cream colored stripes, and covered completely with tiny hairs. This seed is shaped like a grain of rice with a size to match, and found in the center of the vivid purple flower that grows in the upper regions of the climbing vine. About five nailsbreadths across these flowers are star shaped with petals resembling tear drops with the tip connecting to the center of the flower.

The non feeding leaves of the vine are heart shaped and grow all along the stalk. These leaves are variegated with the edges being a dark shade of green and lightening towards the center where the veins are a bright gnastheen green colour. The stalk of the plant when mature can grow to a size where you can just barely touch thumb to middle finger around it, and thins down to end in an almost whip like tip. These stalks typically grow on either side of the root system and stretch outwards across the ground in opposite directions. There are normally only two of these main stalks, but lesser stalks will grow from each of these. The two main stalks can grow to be up to three peds in length giving the vine an overall length of about six and a half peds. While the main stalk will only grow along the ground the lesser stalks will climb short distances up a fence or wall. It is on these climbing stalks which the flowers may be found.

The “traps” as they are commonly referred to are an oval shape that, when fully grown, can reach one palmspan seven nailsbreadths in length and one palmspan two nailsbreadths in width, and vary in shades of green. The vine can grow a multitude of traps, that lay upon the ground, spaced generally three to four palmspans apart, connected to the stalk by a thick woody stem. The stem is fibrous and tough, it will bend with the early struggles of it's larger prey but rarely will detach from the vine.  These traps are composed of two sections that connect in the center on one side similar to an oyster, giving it its other common name. The outer edges of the trap are serrated with teeth that form a cage when the trap snaps shut. The inside is a light pink in colour giving it a fleshy appearance that is unsettling to some viewers. This pink color serves to entice insects into the trap. Also inside are many small hairs that serve as a trigger for the trap, if jostled more than once the trap will snap shut trapping whatever may have set it off. These trigger hairs are located near the center of the trap ensuring that the entire victim is caught inside its jaws, if for any reason the entire creature is not trapped the jaws will slowly open allowing it to escape. Researchers have found that once closed the trap secretes a mild aceed that dissolves the soft parts of its meal, this aceed also contains a weak toxin that serves to paralyze the creature trapped inside. The trap seals itself when fully shut so that none of the digestive aceed leaks out during consumption. After opening the outer husks of insects and the bones of animals will fall out, if not cleaned up regularly this can have a slightly morbid and disturbing effect.

It must be mentioned that the Rat Trap Vine has two distinct smells. The first and expected comes from the purple flowers; this smell is pleasant though rather faint. The second smell comes from the traps; this smell is not as pleasant and has been compared to feet. It is believed that the second scent acts as a lure for the small animals on which it feasts.

Territory:
The Rat Trap thrives in Northern Sarvonia, growing in the wild from the northern base of the Tandala Highlands to the southern base of the Imlith and Vindel Mountains.  The reasons for this are believed to be due to the north's cooler climate and moist soil. It is not found any further in either direction in the wild, though it has been cultivated in the south but dies if not taken care of. No specimens have been found further to the north and it is believed that the colder temperatures prevent any growth.

Usages:
The main use from this plant can probably be garnered from its name. It is cultivated at farms, around gardens and even in window boxes of some eating establishments in order to keep out rodents and insects. It has been said that the Rat Trap rivals a Barn Cat in its ability to keep out mice if located properly.

Alchemists have also begun experimenting with the recently discovered digestive aceed. Many uses for this have been imagined, everything from wood etching to tanning. It has also been used as a trap in areas where a full grown plant could not grow; it has been found that the aceed is the source of the unpleasant cheesy smell and it will attract insects and rodents that either try to ingest it or get caught in a more mundane trap. Perhaps the most successful application of this aceed is used by female Zirghurim, it has been found that when diluted it makes a rather good hair remover, with only mild side effects caused by the paralyzing toxin.

Reproduction:
The Rat Trap Vine grows from seeds that are located in the center it's purple flower. As mentioned above these flowers only grow in the upper reaches of the climbing vine, the reason for this is believed to be so that possible seed carriers don't get eaten. Carriers are typically small birds that feed on the nectar of the flower, when feeding the bird will either knock the seed out of the flower or the seed will stick to the bird by the small hairs that cover it. Once the seed falls off the bird it only takes a short time for it to begin sprouting. The flowers of this vine only bloom from the months of Awakening Earth through Fallen Leaf, and don't begin to grow until after the vine has passed its first year of growth. The flowers will only live about two weeks each, at which point the seeds that they hold will only be able to produce a plant for another day or two.

Research:
The most noted researcher for the Rat Trap vine was Bobhei Nlan, a failed magician who turned his studies outward to the natural world. He was the first to discover the digestive aceed that is created by the vine, and subsequent removal of this aceed. The following are excerpts in his journal about what he learned.

The 24th day of Changing Winds 1330: I have been watching this plant that lays about my garden and I can't help but wonder, how does it work? It is the Rat Trap Vine, fairly common around these parts and rather taken for granted. This I believe, is a shame, as it is a remarkable plant. I shall begin further study of it when I have the time…

The 15th day of Singing Bird 1330: While studying the Rat Trap a small beetle walked int one of the traps and nothing happened. Then as it neared the centre the jaws suddenly clamped shut. This led me to wonder about the process, how does it know when its prey is fully inside, what causes it to close? After severing one of the smaller traps from the vine I took it inside to study, and what I found fascinated me. Upon fully opening the trap I could see what appeared to be a number of small hairs, seven to either side, that were grouped in the centre. That is to say they were all located in the center but were spaced about three grains apart from each other. Aha, I thought, is this the warning system? Needless to say I promptly took myself out side to test my theory. In my haste I stuck my whole hand into the trap and lightly brushed one of the hairs, and to my disappointment it did not shut. After a moments thought I tried again, this time brushing a few of the hairs. It worked, unfortunately I was not able to remove my finger quickly enough and had the tip caught in the jaws momentarily. I must say that the small spines that grow from the, for want of a better word, lips are rather tough. Though it did not cause any severe injury I will, in the future, use a stick…

The 17th Day of Singing Bird 1330: Today I took the time to further study the trap that I removed from the vine, this time fully dissecting it. The first thing I noticed upon cutting into it was the odour, which hinted vaguely of unwashed feet or perhaps cheese. After removing the fleshy inside from the outer layer I found a small sac which I seemed to have cut a bit. This sac contained a fluid that stung a bit upon first touch then numbed my finger, making it feel as though I had lost circulation of the blood. Even after washing myself clean the th efeeling persisted for quite a while, half an hour I would guess. Upon returning to my work table I took a closer look and found that the sac was connected by what appeared to be small tube to the fleshy layer. These tubes aligned with the trigger hairs on the other side, leading me to the belief that this is where it secretes from once the trap has close. Being more cautious with the other side I found the sac intact and was able to remove it without loosing any of the aceed. It wasn't until later this evening that I realized that I no longer had hair where I had been touched by the pernicious liquid…

The 28th day of Rising Sun 1330: I have taken a cutting from my vine and replanted it nearer to my little shop, it seems to be doing well. I wanted to learn whether it could survive a transplanting of this nature and am quite pleased with the result. I took a good length of the vine, just over a fore, along with one of the traps and planted it near a home made trellis, where it seems to have taken root. I did notice the trap shut as I left the shop this evening, I will look tomorrow to see what sort of creature it caught…

The 8th day of  burning Heavens 1330: Today I noticed that my second vine had bloomed, adding a pleasant dash of colour to my bare walls. When I inspected these blooms I realized that they all grew in the upper reaches of the vine. This puzzled me at first until I saw a small bird flit down to feed upon the nectar, then I understood that id the flowers bloomed in the lower regions of the plant there would be a chance that the bird would be eaten. What a fascinating survival technique…


« Last Edit: 16 July 2009, 00:10:43 by Grendal Thornfist » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 11 July 2009, 19:21:48 »

A quick look, and this is looking good, Grendal.  :)

I have to smile at lady dwarves exfoliating and removing unwanted hair with the digestive juices. Are female dwarves that concerned about excessive hair?  grin

One thing that wasn't quite clear to me - how many 'traps' does a typical vine have. Is it just the one big one like the obvious comparison, the venus fly trap? Or does it have many, at varying heights along it's length?

You do say 'traps' plural, so I'm assuming more than one, but you don't really mention them. It might be worth including some extra details as to how it supports all these heavy traps (especially if it has large pray trapped inside). Perhaps it wraps itself around supporting trees/fences even more tenaciously than normal vines, or has side shoots that help add supporting strength?

Flies and insects are typically attracted to these sorts of traps by the scent of nectar to drink - what is attracting the mammals to step inside?

I would also think there is a danger with mammals of setting off the trap prematurely - as they walk in rather than fly, the trap I guess would be more likely to trap a leg or half the body rather than the whole thing. Is the trap strong enough to therefore withstand the writhing around of a trapped rat without being ripped from the stem, or even worse, ripping the stem down?

Mammals also tend to have jaws, with sharp teeth compared with insects - rats or mice notoriously can chew their way through just about anything. I doubt it would linger around whilst it's soft parts are slowly digested - can the trap withstand a sustained gnawing from a rat panicking for its life?

I mention these things only for you to adapt the plant to cope with such things, not to put off the idea of it - which I do like.

Keep it going,

Happy Writing  :)

 

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Drasil Razorfang
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« Reply #2 on: 11 July 2009, 22:09:53 »

Quote
Flies and insects are typically attracted to these sorts of traps by the scent of nectar to drink - what is attracting the mammals to step inside?

Just piggybacking on what Smee said here, but you have reversed the two roles.  Mammals are the ones who can smell and are therefore attracted by the scents of nectar.  Insects, such as flies, bees and other various polinators are attracted by the coloring of the plant's flower or in this case, their trap.
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« Reply #3 on: 11 July 2009, 22:22:50 »

Doh!  buck
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Grendal Thornfist
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« Reply #4 on: 12 July 2009, 00:07:34 »

** looks up at entry** Well I coulda sworn... Alrighty as to the women folk here is what I were workin from,
Quote
A side note on feminine beards: Zirghurim females, like other liberal tribes who have a lot of contact with extra-dwarven races, depilate their facial hair, and in fact were among the first historically to do so, according to their records
But I s'pose I oughta edit it to just refer to the Zirghurim.

To the traps supporting its prey I thought I had mentioned that they lay on the groun but looking over it I realise that I fergot ter.

It all should be fixed now.
« Last Edit: 12 July 2009, 00:21:56 by Grendal Thornfist » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: 12 July 2009, 04:37:03 »

This is a fun plant.  I like the idea that people use it as rodent control.  Very clever.  Excellent work so far. thumbup

A couple of minor things:

 
Quote
About five nailsbreadths across these flowers are star shaped with petal resembling tear drops
petal needs an "s" .
Aceed?  Is this a technical/scientific spelling for acid?  I have never seen it spelled that way.

Are these climbing vines at all?  Do they ever creep up trees or up walls?  I also imagine they would eat small birds too if they feed on the flowers too close to the traps.

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Grendal Thornfist
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« Reply #6 on: 12 July 2009, 04:59:58 »

Thanks fer catching that Seeker. I had mentioned the flowers being in the upper regions to avoid eating the seed carriers but failed to mention how they got up there. The flowers grow in the upper regions while the traps lay on the ground.

Oh, and aceed is the Santh spelling.
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« Reply #7 on: 13 July 2009, 01:26:41 »

I got me researcher in, enjoy.
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« Reply #8 on: 16 July 2009, 00:13:03 »

Well it's been a few days and this has fallen off the sidebar. Just wanted to generate a bit o' interest.
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« Reply #9 on: 20 July 2009, 06:45:44 »

Quicky readthrough: looking pretty good!

Still awol untill.. oh, thursday at the very least, lots of things to see, people to do, etc. etc. so more detailed comments will be postponed to then, at the least.
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« Reply #10 on: 14 August 2009, 01:44:29 »

Rat Trap Vine/ Herbarium


Categorization: Vines and Creepers

Overview:
A carnivorous vine found mainly in Northern Sarvonia, the Rat Trap is a unique and rather useful plant. A deep shade of green sognastheen perhaps? with small purple flowers this vine is also rather pleasing to the eye. The Rat Trap or Oyster Vine thrives in moist cooler cooler than what? climates, but some species have adapted the warmer more humid regions to the south. The most remarkable feature of this vine is its broad oyster shaped leaf like traps which, depending on the size and maturity of the plant, can entrap insects and even small animals such as rodents or lizards in order to feed.

Description:
The Rat Trap Vine begins its existence as a small seed of a dark brown colour with lighter cream colored stripes, and covered completely with tiny hairs. This seed is shaped like a grain of rizjo with a size to match, and found in the center of the vivid purple flower Usually, seeds are not found in flowers, but rather after they have wilted. that grows in the upper regions of the climbing vine. About five nailsbreadths across these flowers are star shaped with petals resembling tear drops with the tip connecting to the center of the flower.

The non-feeding leaves of the vine are heart shaped and grow all along the stalk. These leaves are variegatedcomma with the edges being a dark shade of green and lightening towards the center where the veins are a bright gnastheen green colour. The stalk of the plant when mature can grow to a size where you can just barely touch thumb to middle finger around itIf I am a halfling, i have a tiny plant. If Tharoc lives next door, his plant is much larger.., and thins down to end in an almost whip like tip. These stalks typically grow on either side of the root system You mean, above and below it? and stretch outwards across the ground in opposite directions. There are normally only two of these main stalks, but lesser stalks will grow from each of these. The two main stalks can grow to be up to three peds in length giving the vine an overall length of about six and a half peds a plant does not become longer because it grows in two directions. lenght is still measured from the root neck to the tip :). While the main stalk will only grow along the ground the lesser stalks will climb short distances up a fence or wall. It is on these climbing stalks which the flowers may be found.

The “traps” as they are commonly referred to are an oval shape that, when fully grown, can reach one palmspancomma, or, "and" seven nailsbreadths in length and one palmspan see previous two nailsbreadths in width, and vary in shades of green can you narrow that down a bit, perhaps?. The vine can grow a multitude of traps, that lay upon the ground, spaced generally three to four palmspans apart, connected to the stalk by a thick woody stem. As the stem is fibrous and tough, it will bend with the early struggles of it's larger prey but rarely will detach from the vine.  These traps are composed of two sections that connect in the center on one side similar to an oyster, giving it its other common name This requires the reader to remember "oyster Vine". Actually mentioning that name here would be good.. The outer edges of the trap are serrated with teeth that form a cage when the trap snaps shut. The inside is a light pink in colour giving it a fleshy appearance that is unsettling to some viewers. This pink color serves to entice insects into the trap. Also inside are many small hairs that serve as a trigger for the trap, if jostled more than once the trap will snap shut trapping whatever may have set it off. These trigger hairs are located near the center of the trap ensuring that the entire victim is caught inside its jaws, if for any reason the entire creature is not trapped the jaws will slowly open allowing it to escape. Researchers have found that once closed the trap secretes a mild aceed that dissolves the soft parts of its meal, this aceed also contains a weak toxin that serves to paralyze the creature trapped inside. The trap seals itself when fully shut so that none of the digestive aceed leaks out during consumption. After opening the outer husks of insects and the bones of animals will fall out, if not cleaned up regularly this can have a slightly morbid and disturbing effect.

It must be mentioned that the Rat Trap Vine has two distinct smells. The first and expected comes from the purple flowers; this smell is pleasant though rather faint. The second smell comes from the traps; this smell is not as pleasant and has been compared to feet. It is believed that the second scent acts as a lure for the small animals on which it feasts. Come to think of it, wouldn't you be able to smell the decomposing animals in the trap, in the case of non-insects, and such?

Territory:
The Rat Trap thrives in Northern Sarvonia, growing in the wild from the northern base of the Tandala Highlands to the southern base of the Imlith and Vindel Mountains.  The reasons for this are believed to be due to the north's cooler climate and moist soil. It is not found any further in either direction in the wild, though it has been cultivated in the south but dies if not taken care of. No specimens have been found further to the north and it is believed that the colder temperatures prevent any growth.

Usages:
The main use from this plant can probably be garnered from its name. It is cultivated at farms, around gardens and even in window boxes of some eating establishments in order to keep out rodents and insects. It has been said that the Rat Trap rivals a Barn Cat in its ability to keep out mice if located properly. Does its usefulness override the smell? And do you need to feed it if it doesnt catch enough prey? Come to think of it, how do farmers and other backwater people get the plants in the first place? Do the Sinkels (shameless self-promotion!) perhaps sell the seeds?

Alchemists have also begun experimenting with the recently discovered digestive aceed. Many uses for this have been imagined, everything from wood etching to tanning. It has also been used as a trap in areas where a full grown plant could not grow; it has been found that the aceed is the source of the unpleasant cheesy smell and it will attract insects and rodents that either try to ingest it or get caught in a more mundane trap. Perhaps the most successful application of this aceed is used by female Zirghurim, it has been found that when diluted it makes a rather good hair remover, with only mild side effects caused by the paralyzing toxin. Wood etching? Most plant-derived aceeds are incapable of devouring plant matter. How are the traps protected against it, if this aceed cán dissolve such fibers?

Reproduction:
The Rat Trap Vine grows from seeds that are located in the center it's purple flower. As mentioned above these flowers only grow in the upper reaches of the climbing vine, the reason for this is believed to be so that possible seed carriers don't get eaten. Carriers are typically small birds that feed on the nectar of the flower, when feeding the bird will either knock the seed out of the flower or the seed will stick to the bird by the small hairs that cover it. Once the seed falls off the bird it only takes a short time for it to begin sprouting. The flowers of this vine only bloom from the months of Awakening Earth through Fallen Leaf, and don't begin to grow until after the vine has passed its first year of growth. The flowers will only live about two weeks each, at which point the seeds that they hold will only be able to produce a plant for another day or two.

Research:
The most noted researcher for the Rat Trap vine was Bobhei Nlan, a failed magician who turned his studies outward to the natural world. He was the first to discover the digestive aceed that is created by the vine, and subsequent removal of this aceed Huh? What removal?. The following are excerpts in his journal about what he learned.

The 24th day of Changing Winds 1330: I have been watching this plant that lays about my garden and I can't help but wonder, how does it work? It is the Rat Trap Vine, fairly common around these parts and rather taken for granted. This I believe, is a shame, as it is a remarkable plant. I shall begin further study of it when I have the time…

The 15th day of Singing Bird 1330: While studying the Rat Trap a small beetle walked int one of the traps and nothing happened. Then as it neared the centre the jaws suddenly clamped shut. This led me to wonder about the process, how does it know when its prey is fully inside, what causes it to close? After severing one of the smaller traps from the vine I took it inside to study, and what I found fascinated me. Upon fully opening the trap I could see what appeared to be a number of small hairs, seven to either side, that were grouped in the centre. That is to say they were all located in the center but were spaced about three grains apart from each other. Aha, I thought, is this the warning system? Needless to say I promptly took myself out side to test my theory. In my haste I stuck my whole hand into the trap and lightly brushed one of the hairs, and to my disappointment it did not shut. After a moments thought I tried again, this time brushing a few of the hairs. It worked, unfortunately I was not able to remove my finger quickly enough and had the tip caught in the jaws momentarily. I must say that the small spines that grow from the, for want of a better word, lips are rather tough. Though it did not cause any severe injury I will, in the future, use a stick…

The 17th Day of Singing Bird 1330: Today I took the time to further study the trap that I removed from the vine, this time fully dissecting it. The first thing I noticed upon cutting into it was the odour, which hinted vaguely of unwashed feet or perhaps cheese. After removing the fleshy inside from the outer layer I found a small sack which I seemed to have cut a bit. This sack contained a fluid that stung a bit upon first touch then numbed my finger, making it feel as though I had lost circulation of the blood. Even after washing myself clean the the feeling persisted for quite a while, half an hour I would guess. Upon returning to my work table I took a closer look and found that the sack was connected by what appeared to be small tube to the fleshy layer. These tubes aligned with the trigger hairs on the other side, leading me to the belief that this is where it secretes from once the trap has close. Being more cautious with the other side I found the sack intact and was able to remove it without loosing any of the aceed. It wasn't until later this evening that I realized that I no longer had hair where I had been touched by the pernicious liquid…

The 28th day of Rising Sun 1330: I have taken a cutting from my vine and replanted it nearer to my little shop, it seems to be doing well. I wanted to learn whether it could survive a transplanting of this nature and am quite pleased with the result. I took a good length of the vine, just over a fore, along with one of the traps and planted it near a home made trellis, where it seems to have taken root. I did notice the trap shut as I left the shop this evening, I will look tomorrow to see what sort of creature it caught…Cuttings are usually between 10-30 nailsbreadths long, at most, because the larger the cut-off section of plant is, the harder it is for it to stay alive untill it has taken root. With such a soft plant, i'd reckon 10-15 nb would be a good size.

The 8th day of  burning Heavens 1330: Today I noticed that my second vine had bloomed, adding a pleasant dash of colour to my bare walls. When I inspected these blooms I realized that they all grew in the upper reaches of the vine. This puzzled me at first until I saw a small bird flit down to feed upon the nectar, then I understood that id the flowers bloomed in the lower regions of the plant there would be a chance that the bird would be eaten. What a fascinating survival technique…

There you go, something to keep you occupied for a bit ;) Its all rather promising, i must say!
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« Reply #11 on: 28 August 2009, 04:21:33 »

Hello my friends, please forgive me lenghty absence. Would ye believe me house were hit by lightning, not conductive to my favorite site I tell ye. Anyway just wanted ye to know that I am back and plan on getting to me entries just as soon as possible.
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« Reply #12 on: 28 August 2009, 04:26:49 »

Great! Some more things for the North. I am always happy to see that.  heart I look forward to more progress here. Looks almost finished?  ;)
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« Reply #13 on: 14 December 2009, 23:01:22 »

Moderator's notes:

-Entry still on hold pending integration of my previous comments, it seems.
-Is Grendal still active Y/N? -> Send email to confirm.
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