Encyclopedia of Herbology

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Book5.png Encyclopedia of Herbology is a book by Solomon Fallows, Michael Relius, Heather Sands and other. It can be found in any respectable library.

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Encyclopedia of Herbology
by Solomon Fallows, Michael Relius, Heather Sands, et al.

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Introduction

Although botany may not be considered to be the most glamorous of fields of research, the study of plants and fungi is certainly not unimportant or lacking in topics of fascination. Plants are responsible for channelling energy from sunlight into our ecosystems and without it, or some other divine influence, there would be no life on Erasan. In addition, through the ages, creatures of Erasan, ourselves included, have come to learn many ways to exploit the virtues of many interesting plants. In this millennium edition, we summarise all known plant and fungi species on Aerath, with particular focus on magical varieties.

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Trees

Elosia Tree
Elosia trees are a large and ancient species of magical tree which once covered vast swathes of Aerath. These days they are only found in a few isolated groves, most notably in Milthorn and Wirafal. They are especially notable for their magical auras, which may actually heal the sick or injured when nearby. However this blessing they provide brought with it a curse; as of course the price of leaves, wood and sap from these remarkable trees fetches a high price on the market.

It is thought that Elosia tree reproduction relied on another, now extinct, species. As a result, Elosia trees are unable to reproduce, and so we should be doubly caring and appreciative of those few Elosia groves which remain on Aerath. We urge any who seek to make profit from these wonderful species to think again.

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Plants

Fireweed
Fireweed is a delicate flower found in forests across Aerath. Its name "fireweed", refers to the intensity and ‘heat’ of the flavour of their seed pods and flowers. The hot taste is caused by a chemical found within the seed pod and, to a lesser extent, the pink flowers, which activates pain receptors, in the mouth, which are usually responsible for sensing a change in temperature. It is thought that this is a defence mechanism against herbivores.

Fireweed flowers and seed pods have a variety of uses in all sorts of potions, medicines and even some foods. However fireweed is notoriously difficult to cultivate on large scale, and so the market relies mainly on the little product that is picked up by forest travellers and a few dedicated 'fireweed trackers'. It has even been known for certain forest creatures, namely forest imps, to exploit this demand. Forest imps seem to understand the growth and needs of fireweed better than ourselves, and have been known to plant and tend fireweed plants along small paths, to lure unsuspecting travellers into an ambush. This has led to what is referred to as the 'Milthorn rule'. The rule is simply: "Don't walk the paths where the fireweed grows".

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Greenshade moss
Greenshade moss is distinct from all other known mosses for its remarkable ability to grow entirely underground. In fact, it is much more common underground than above! This ability to grow without light isn't entirely understood, but is thought to be the result of a mutually beneficial relationship between the moss and nearby trees and plants. Similar to the withelroot, greenshade moss is thought to derive a large part of it's energy from nearby roots. However, the greenshade moss also provides the roots — of the plants from which it saps energy — with vital nutrients produced as products of using the borrowed energy.

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Wirathistle
Wirathistles are large, thorny, blood—sucking plants found almost exclusively in Wirafal (hence the name). This unusual plant usually lies flat against the earth in long—grass areas, and exposes only a few shoots with leaves and small, brightly coloured flowers. However when an unsuspecting animal walks over the plant, many more thorny shoots very quickly rise up from the ground and cover the creature. These thorns imbed themselves into the animal's skin, allowing the plant to take up some of the animal's blood. Struggling against a wirathistle attack will only causes the trapped animal more pain, as the thorns will tear through thick hide and skin with surprising ease. As a result, the trapped animal will be effectively be paralysed until released by the plant. After striking its prey in this way, the wirathistle will usually sink back down to ground level within around 5-10 seconds, leaving victims shaken but without any worry of long—term damage.

Wirathistles are particularly vulnerable to even the slightest increase in temperature. As a result, any travellers passing through an area where wirathistles are known to grow would be wise to have a flame at hand.

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Withelroot
The Withelroot is a magical plant which is considered unusual for a variety of reasons. The most significant being this plant's minimal requirement for sunlight as a source of energy for growth.

Instead of sunlight, Withelroot plants use magical energy stored in the seed pod to fuel the initial and very rapid growth of what appears to be a short, pointed, spiralling trunk. The few leaves which top the growing trunk are the last signs of this plant's past requirement for sunlight, and play only a small part in growth. As for the source of energy used by Withelroots to grow, this appears to be sapped from other nearby plants, via the extensive roots of a mature Withelroot plant. As a result, Withelroot plants are notoriously picky regarding where they will flower, as the conditions have to be perfect to allow it. If the conditions are not suitable, the Withelroot will disintegrate and wither back into the ground, almost as quickly as it grew.

When Withelroots do flower, the brightly coloured, pod—shaped flowers which contain the mature seeds last less than a few hours. Seed dispersal relies of the explosive release of seeds from the top of the stem, out into the surrounding area. As the seeds land, they sprout immediately. So if you are ever lucky enough to come across any intact Withelroot seeds, hold on to them tight!