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Kikhku
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« on: 08 June 2004, 09:47:00 »

This is my first time in this forum.  For some reason this idea just popped into my head and I felt like writing it down.

M'kay, first draft is done, and I welcome comments.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Corpse Cherries

Categorization: Edible plants, bushes

Overview: Once an extremely rare bush, this plant is evenly spread through the Shivering Woods and the area around Horth.  They are easily identified by their berries and are, for the most part, avoided.

Description: Overall, the size of the bush varies from under half a ped tall and one ped around, to a record of five peds tall and eight wide.  In general, it has a very rounded shape.

Its leaves are heart shaped, coated with a thick, waxy cuticle that acts as a deterrent to small insects looking for an easy meal.  Leaves are often in groups of four, budding evenly from the branch.

The entire bush is a deep green color.  Its berries are either red, gold, blue, or yellow depending on the time of the year (Red for summer, gold for fall, light blue for winter, yellow for spring).  The berries can range from a nailsbreadth to about the size of a fist, depending on the size of the bush.  

It's flowers have petals in multiples of four, and are never wider then a nailsbreath.  They are a plain green color, and most untrained eyes will not even notice them.  The plant blooms year round unless tempuratures prohibit it, and usually self pollinates.

Territory: This plant was found exclusively in the Shivering Wood for many centuries.  Now it has expanded its territory to the city of Horth.  Many botanists believe that within a few years, the plant could spread through all of Xaramon.

Usages: This bush is a plant of several usages.  
~The waxy cuticle on the leaves can be scraped off and used as a watertight sealant.  
~The leaves, when dried up, have a minty flavor and are often used to flavor tea or beers.  
~The berries themselves are edible, but they must be carefully harvested and have to be left sitting for at least a week before the venom in the seeds is gone.  This venom can also be removed by boiling the berries, but this leaves them with a sour, tart flavor.
~The seeds inside the berry can be harvested and used to tip darts with a dazing poison.  If left sitting, the poison weakens into an anesthetic, commonly used to numb patients for crude surgeries (sawing a gangrenous limb off, etc).  But this must be done carefully.  If the venom is not aged enough, it could hurt the patient, and if overaged, might do nothing at all.  The poison only ages when it is inside the berry.
~The berries can also be used as a dye when squished and watered down.

Reproduction: The Corpse Cherry vine was named such because of the unique way it reproduces.  Each cherry, while on the bush, is under a huge amount of pressure.  The only thing keeping the berries from popping is a substance in the stem.  When a berry is plucked from its stem (or falls off naturally) it will explode, releasing between ten and ten thousand seeds.  Each seed is about a quarter of a nailsbreadth wide and extremely sharp.  

The goal of the seed is to pierce a nearby animal's skin.  The poison on the seed will daze the animal just long enough for the seed to extend several vine-like structures and push itself all the way inside of the host.  The poison tipping the seed will daze a dog sized animal for about an hour.  The poison prevents the animal from removing the seed from it's skin.  After that, the seed becomes dormant.

Once the animal dies, the seed wakes up, for lack of a better term.  It begins sprouting roots which feed off of the animal's corpse.  The roots also release a foul smelling odor to keep other animals away.  Within a day, the dead animal will be filled with the plant's root system.

If more then one seed from the same plant enter the same animal, the plants will co-exist and often merge into one bush.  However if the seeds are from differant plants, the two plants will compete for resources, often killing eachother off.

The plant will feed off of the corpse for about a week, though it may take longer if the ground is unfavorable.  During this time, it will store up sugars in a large bulb. This bulb is actually the body of the seed.  Once the week of feeding is over, the pant will extend it's roots to the ground below.  The animal's body will be preserved by chemicals (and will feed the plant during especially harsh winters, allowing it to produce buds year round) which seep from the roots.  Two weeks after germinating, the first bud will push through the decaying flesh.  The bud quickly grows into a full Corpse Cherry bush over the next month or so, and lives its life out.

To prevent one of these berries from popping, one merely has to cut the branch the berry is hanging on from the vine and soak it in saltwater.  The berries will shrivel up after several days.  Once they show signs of wrinkling, one must wait a total of seven days (post cutting) for the poisons inside to completely wear down, or boil the berry, leaving it with a sour flavor. The berries are then edible.  

Edited by: Kikhku at: 6/9/04 0:03
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Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #1 on: 08 June 2004, 10:47:00 »

Oh wow, what a plant, Kik!

A nice idea! - No, not nice, ooh well, let's say interesting :lol

A few flaws are in there, not many though.

We don't use the expression of chemicals  here. The gnomes might know a few under their own name, but the concept of chemistry is still unknown, and I would add sugar, as it acts here like a chemical. Think more in terms what a farmer would observe or a researcher assume.

The flowering of the bush in winter is unlikely, but you  could use a antifreezing agent here for lower freezing temperatures, but again - just observe it - don't explain it in scientific terms!

Is the flesh of the berries poisonous, or just the seeds, so that you have to peel it thoroughly? You could just cook it to destroy the poison.

I don't see the reason for narcotisizing the animal - why does the seeds not just penetrate the skin and sit there? How long does the animal live after that - a normal lifespan or is it poisoned and dies after.... days?

How many seed are entering the animal - and are they not concurrents after the animal has died?

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"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path  that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking,  breathlessly. ~Don Juan"
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« Reply #2 on: 08 June 2004, 15:24:00 »

Very interesting indeed.

Now then, what size animal does this affect?  Due to the amount of seeds it releases I would expect that it could inhabit a person and other large animals as well.  You might want to add a section about the precautions taken while growing and harvesting.  I know you said saoking it in saltwater stops them from exploding, are they then picked before they are ripe and then ripened by letting them sit out without the harmful exploding?  

Also, just a thought.  Since the Shivering Wood is filled with trees that are sensative to vibrations, what if these plants are as well?  This would allow the seeds a better chance of finding an animal host, if the animal's movement causes the cherries to fall.

Dirg'mystrume of the Helvet'ine Kuglim.  
Lord of the North

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Kikhku
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« Reply #3 on: 09 June 2004, 10:18:00 »

M'kay, changes are in italics.

I thought about the vibration bit, but what about when it rains?  The ground will be full of vibration and the bush can't afford to lose an entire crop of berries just coz of a drizzle.  

Dear Beth.....

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Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #4 on: 09 June 2004, 15:14:00 »

It hasn't to be rain, but vibrations a bit stronger, look at my False Heart, it is based in this respect on a real plant, called police helmet or such.

***Astropic of the day***
"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path   that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly. ~Don Juan"

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"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path  that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking,  breathlessly. ~Don Juan"
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Kikhku
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« Reply #5 on: 09 June 2004, 15:30:00 »

But still, it can't afford to lose it's crop every time a tree branch falls or something like that.  And the forest floor would muffle most of the vibrations anyway, right?

Dear Beth.....

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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #6 on: 02 August 2004, 03:15:00 »

Kik, where are you? You still have an entry to finish, you know... Would you want me to give it a through check?

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« Reply #7 on: 03 August 2004, 13:49:00 »

Go for it, i wanna know what needs to be done :d

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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #8 on: 11 August 2004, 15:10:00 »

Overview: Once an extremely rare bush, this plant is evenly spread through the Shivering Woods and the area around Horth. They are easily identified by their berries and are, for the most part, avoided.

Description: Overall, the size of the bush varies from under half a ped tall and one ped around, to a record of five peds tall and eight wide. In general, it has a very rounded shape.

Its leaves are heart shaped; coated with a thick, waxy cuticle that acts as a deterrent to small insects looking for an easy meal. Leaves are often in groups of four, budding evenly from the branch.

The entire bush is a deep green color. Its berries are either red, gold, blue, or yellow depending on the time of the year (Red for summer, gold for fall, light blue for winter, yellow for spring). The berries can range from a nailsbreadth to about the size of a fist (can you be more specific here? fist of a child? a 30 years old lady? a sailor?) , depending on the size of the bush.

It's flowers have petals in multiples of four and are never wider (hmm... must look kinda weird, four 1mm petals trying to support a fist-size berry :)  but then again few notice them... ) then a nailsbreath. They are a plain green color, and most untrained eyes will not even notice them. The plant blooms year round unless tempuratures prohibit it, and usually self pollinates.

Territory: This plant was found exclusively in the Shivering Woods for many centuries. Now it has expanded its territory to the city of Horth. Many botanists believe that within a few years, the plant could spread through all of Xaramon. (perhaps explain why the plant started to expand so rapidly within the last few (?) years after it remained in a specific location for centuries. any theories, perhaps a few contradicting ones, on this?)

Usages: This bush is a plant of several usages.
~The waxy cuticle on the leaves can be scraped off and used as a watertight sealant.
~The leaves, when dried up, have a minty flavor and are often used to flavor tea or beers.
~The berries themselves are edible, but they must be carefully harvested and have to be left sitting for at least a week before the venom in the seeds is gone. This venom can also be removed by boiling the berries, but this leaves them with a sour, tart flavor.

(if you want to make a lore/myth section, perhaps make up a story of how they discovered that the seeds were poisonous. some celebrity/aristocrat 'unfortunately' tried his hand at one of the berries perhaps.

Also, do you know any specific tribes/groups etc. that use this venom to coat their weapons?)


~The seeds inside the berry can be harvested and used to tip darts with a dazing poison. If left sitting, the poison weakens into an anesthetic, commonly used to numb patients for crude surgeries (sawing a gangrenous limb off, etc). But this must be done carefully. If the venom is not aged enough, it could hurt the patient; and on the contrary, if overaged, might do nothing at all. The poison only ages when it is inside the berry.

(how do they remove the poison from the berry? what is this 'harvesting' process? or do they simply stick the darts into the seeds? also, how is it used as an anesthetic - or rather in what form: mixed into some boiling water/tea, the 'venom' extracted?)

~The berries can also be used as a dye when squished and watered down. (is the color of the dye (slightly) different from that of the fruits? if so, how? paler/darker etc)

Reproduction: The Corpse Cherry vine was named such because of the unique way it reproduces. Each cherry, while on the bush, is under a huge amount of pressure. The only thing keeping the berries from popping is a substance in the stem. When a berry is plucked from its stem (or falls off naturally) it will explode, releasing between ten and ten thousand (10,000 * 0.25 = 2,500 mm = 2.5 m! that's a lot larger than even a dragon's fist ;)  ) seeds. Each seed is about a quarter of a nailsbreadth wide and extremely sharp.

The goal of the seed is to pierce a nearby animal's skin. The poison on the seed will daze the animal just long enough for the seed to extend several vine-like structures and push itself all the way inside of the host. The poison tipping the seed will daze a dog sized animal for about an hour. The poison prevents the animal from removing the seed from it's skin. After that, the seed becomes dormant.

Once the animal dies, the seed wakes up, for lack of a better term. It begins sprouting roots which feed off of the animal's corpse. The roots also release a foul smelling odor to keep other animals away. Within a day, the dead animal will be filled with the plant's root system.

If more then one seed from the same plant enter the same animal, the plants will co-exist and often merge into one bush. However if the seeds are from differant plants, the two plants will compete for resources, often killing eachother off.

The plant will feed off of the corpse for about a week, though it may take longer if the ground is unfavorable (how so? btw, are you talking about earth in "ground"? if yes, then i don't see why the state of the soil should matter at this phase. if no, please forgive my stupidity. Recently found out that 5 hours of sports / day really tires one.) During this time, it will store up sugars in a large bulb. This bulb is actually the body of the seed. Once the week of feeding is over, the pant will extend it's roots to the ground below. The animal's body will be preserved by chemicals (hmm... I wonder if there is a more medieval term for this... :noidea ) (and will feed the plant during especially harsh winters, allowing it to produce buds year round) which seep from the roots. Two weeks after germinating, the first bud will push through the decaying flesh. The bud quickly grows into a full Corpse Cherry bush over the next month or so, and lives its life out.

(perhaps this corpse could also protect the plant from the actual cold. if I understood it right, the bush will still have the animal as a "coat" around it, right? afterall it started to extend its roots from within the animal's body. A few questions at this point comes to mind:

1- When does the reproduction start in the first place? Is there a specific season for it? Or does it happen whenever the berries burst? If so, what are some of the reasons, or what time in its growth cycle, the berries no longer resist the pressure? perhaps that chemical in the stems is not produced after a certain stage in the plant's life to start the reproduction. What happens to the former plant? Are there any interesting details about how it rots?

2-Can it also plant itself in a human? Can larger animals (or are there any animals/races immune to the poison AND/OR can automatically remove the seeds?) prevent the process from occuring? What can one do to remove it after it gets into the body?

3- Where exactly are the seeds stored in the animal's body? Does it travel inside its blood circulation to a specific organ (perhaps the liver or the heart? ro somewhere warm?) or does it stay near the surface? Do we know how this "activation" process occurs (and why) once the animal dies? And any specific reasons why it waits till the animal dies?


(how are the roots shaped? and on what type of ground does this cherry grow? (i think, not sure) it would need strong and sharp roots to dig the ground if it's rocky/arid/hard.)

To prevent one of these berries from popping, one merely has to cut the branch the berry is hanging on from the vine and soak it in saltwater. The berries will shrivel up after several days. (what happens if it bursts as you try to cut the branch? what kind of clothing is worn by these harvesters? Can it penetrate (how is this spelled btw?) silk/cotton? Leather?)  Once they show signs of wrinkling, one must wait a total of seven days (post cutting) for the poisons inside to completely wear down, or boil the berry, leaving it with a sour flavor. The berries are then edible.

(how does it taste if the berries are properly rested?)




I'm sure you can come up with a nice myth or farmers' legend about the plant. Perhaps link it to Queprur, or some 'curse'. I'm dying to hear more about your bush Kik. Take your time to make it even more eerie and frightening! Nice job so far!

PS: Sorry for not responding earlier. Power failures and RL stress prevented me from getting online these past days.

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