Design Blog: Hemo-Plum, Prunus hemomimus

Knights of Terrova Plant Design: Hemo-Plum, Prunus hemomimus

Physical Description: These relatively robust trees stand on average 8 feet tall (2.4 meters) and have a canopy diameter of 15 feet (4.5 meters). The canopy of these trees are squashed spreading out much further than they are tall. The canopy of this tree tends to only be about 1-3 feet deep causing the tree to develop a strange look on the landscape. Their leaves are the usual bright green and are shaped like many other species of plum, their trunk and branches, however, are a deep burgundy containing several dark crystals glowing a similar deep burgundy causing this tree to have a strange glow in the night. The trunk itself is rather squat and extremely thick somewhat resembling a miniature baobab tree. The wood from these trees is also a very deep burgundy creating lovely furniture and housing.

Diet: these trees only grow in the nutrient-rich soil around estuaries evolving to become highly salt resistant, they feed on the detritus washed into the mud and silt by the rivers and ocean.

Ecology: In order to better reproduce in a salty environment where pollinators are more sparse this tree has evolved a symbiotic relationship with the rummy-faced plover and mosquitoes. Their nectar and the juice in their fruits are structurally very similar to mammalian blood, giving off similar sents, chemical signals, taste, and nutrition. They only grow in areas with both high salt contents and highly nutritious water/soil as both are needed to produce its unique nectar and juice. Their presence and extensive root systems hold the shore in place and significantly slow down erosion and storm damage. Their trunks are extremely flexible with the majority of their girth being composed of a viscous fluid and a flexible series of fibrous tubes that allow the trunk to sway and bend at an extreme angle during a storm. The soft glow of the plant helps to attract mosquitoes and other night time hemophages in the dark.

Lifecycle: the hemo-plum attracts hematophages to pollinate its flowers, they also attract the same animals to disperse its seeds. Their fruit have a soft, thin skin that is colored light gold in color, inside the fruits is a soft mush composed of blood like juice and extremely tiny seeds. When a hematophage feeds on a plum they inevitably swallow some seeds transporting them away from the tree as the animal moves and passes its bowels. The tree is relatively quick growing and long-living reaching full size in 10 years and living up to 140 years.

Relationship with humans: Because of the unique blood like property of their nectar and juice, many vampire communities have begun to cultivate this plant in an effort to go vegetarian and reduce their reliance on human hosts. This has made it an extremely popular cash crop in many parts of the world. The domestic variety of this tree produces large and juicier fruit and is less reliant on soil conditions as many communities take great pride in engineering special fertilizers to specifically feed the tree.

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