Heart's Blood (Flower)
Seeds from the Heart's Blood Flower begin to germinate as soon as they come into contact with blood. Without ready muscle tissue in which to dig roots, they will starve and die. It won't germinate at normal body temperatures, however, so it is mostly found on corpses and large battlefields.
Like most parasitic plants, the Heart's Blood Flower has no foliage. It does not need to photosynthesize and instead get's all its energy and nutrients from the host body. Without the need, therefore, of any foliage, it puts all its effort into creating numerous showy crimson flowers that spill from the open wounds of corpses.
Genetics and Reproduction
Growth Rate & Stages
Heart's Blood Flowers have an extremely rapid growth rate. One can reach full inflorescence in just a few hours after a body cools. The flowers can last up to a week if they are not pollinated. Once pollinated, seedpods mature in about a day. Survivors on battlefields will talk of how the blood red flowers grow from the wounds of the fallen, spilling from the bodies as if they were the blood instead. The sweet smell of the flowers can have a strong association to these traumatic experiences for some veterans, while others take comfort in the beauty that comes from such ugliness. After battles, wounded soldiers will often find aborted heart's blood rootlings in their clothing where they had bled. The plants began to grow in the cooling blood on their clothing but could not grow any further due to the soldier remaining alive.
Ecology and Habitats
Can be found almost anywhere.
Dietary Needs and Habits
People who cultivate this flower usually place an animal's heart filled with blood and seeds in a sealed glass container or a dedicated room to keep the smell of decomposition contained. This makes them expensive and thus rare and coveted. It helps that the flower is strikingly attractive in shape and color and has such a unique and sweet scent. Heart's Blood Flowers are a favorite for arrangements and gifts and a cut Heart's Blood Flower has become one of the most ardent symbolic expressions of love in North America.
The cover image shows the Heart's Blood flower ready to spread it's pollen. The following image is from a cultured specimen grown from a disembodied heart
To the Osawkee tribe, the blooming of a Heart's Blood is a mark of the spirit's passing to the spirit world. Tribesmen will collect Heart's Blood seeds in their travels and every member will always have a few in their possession kept in a fold or locket worn around the neck or wrist. When an Osawkee tibesman dies, it is customary for their heart to be cut out, filled with the seeds they were carrying, and placed in the tossed earth above the grave. This would only be necessary of the flowers didn't germinate on their own, and would also require someone to provide the blood necessary to kickstart it. This is not a problem as volunteers consider this an honor to show the deceased their respect or one last act of devotion. The celebrants then say prayers until the flower blooms, which could take more than an hour. It is customary for the next of kin to return and collect seeds from these flowers, thereby creating a connection with the spirit of the deceased and allowing their spirits to meet again when their own time comes.