Hederasomnum, known by the name of enervated ivy, is ostensibly one of the most dangerous plant species in the Tolupato region. While it cannot be used to create any lethal poisons, its unique ability to place organisms into a comatose state, so long as the pollen remains in their system, makes enervated ivy a difficult plant to manage.
It also is known for its symbiotic relationship with several species of fungi, the pollen serving to paralyze and, eventually, kill nearby animals for the fungi to consume. In return, these unique strands of fungi, which are found nowhere else in the world, supply the enervated ivy with a supply of several certain chemical nutrients. These nutrients are primarily used by the ivy to increase the potency of the pollen, resulting in an exponential growth of effectiveness. With the inclusion of the symbiotic relationship, Hederasomnum has the potential to overpower any attempt to contain or control its growth.
-- Lalau Agoseru; Plantae of the Tolupato Region
Enerviated ivy is an invasive species of vine. Predominantly found within the Tolupato region, it's been heavily quarantined to prevent rapid growth since it produces and releases concentrated quantities of pollen with the capacity to place organisms into a deep slumber.
Beware the enervated ivy,
The pollen drowns even the mighty.
— Common Tolupato Phrase
The Vineyard of Nightmares
The Vineyard of Nightmares is a notorious forest originating from a castle overgrown by enervated ivy. It's renowned for its haunting beauty and infamously deadly air. Home to many of the most dangerous species on the planet, the enervated ivy gives sanctity to any species evolved to be immune to the ivy's effects. The ivy's growth has since been contained, however, all attempts to remove the ivy from the castle—even via the use of Resonance—have released a large quantity of pollen, resulting in failure. Since the most recent attempt, the enervated ivy has increased drastically, painting the grey stone with emerald ivy.
Enervated ivy is often considered to have one of the most beautifully intoxicating flowers, disguising the deadly pollens it releases. The pollen of the flower is a polymer-based, highly potent drug with the capacity to induce comas in various organisms. Should an organism remain in the proximity of the flowers, it's possible that the afflicted organism will never wake and eventually die of dehydration or starvation.
The flowers, known for blooming year-round irrespective of weather conditions in the tropics, release pollen periodically—generally once or twice a day—into the air from the stamen of the flower buried in the conical leaves.
The flowers themselves are loosely tucked into small bundles of leaves, capable of easily being removed with slight pressure. They are made of a light substance that rapidly grows and dissolves, constantly being replaced throughout the seasons.
The pollen is composed of a light chain of polymers, constructed to decrease the atomic density so that it lightly floats in the air. In heavy winds, it's not uncommon for the pollen to rapidly spread outward, the wind stripping pollen from the petals and stamen of the flowering ivy.
The vines that constitute the primary body of enervated ivy are fairly standard, having a similar appearance to other strands of ivy found across Aesontis. Possessing the appearance of long, root-like branches, the vines of the ivy are long and twisted having warped to match whatever surface they occupy.
Younger forks of vine, generally less than 2 years old, appear spry and sap green. Conversely, older branches, between 5-10 years old, will resemble the old roots of a grand oak or evergreen tree; they possess thin layers of bark and are made of a stronger wood-adjacent substance.
The vines of enervated ivy are nothing of considerable note. Unlike the flowers and pollen which have unique properties native to the Tolupato Region, the main branches of ivy are composed of a material similar to other strains of ivy found around Aesontis.
-- Lalau Agoseru; Plantae of the Tolupato Region
Producing new strands of ivy is difficult. To find a balance between airflow and containment is crucial as an imbalance may result in a dangerous density of pollen in the contained garden; on the other hand, if there's too much airflow the enervated ivy will escape the containment and begin to populate the surrounding land.
— Illegal Enervated Ivy Farmer
Pollen of Enervated Ivy
Unique to enervated ivy, the polymer chain of the pollen doesn't require fertilization to grow. Since the pollen doesn't require any fertilization to reproduce, other factors of the environment play a larger role in the procreation of enervated ivy.
As a flowering plant species, enervated ivy reproduces via their flowers. Releasing excessive volumes of pollen into the air, rather than relying on other species for reproduction, the pollen's atomic structure allows it to float in the air until finding a location to seed itself.
Only a portion of pollen will find itself planted in soil, a significant quantity of pollen landing on, and growing from, the branches of other plants of ivy.
For a new sapling to begin growing, a number of factors have to align. Firstly, the pollen must land on open land; more often than not, the pollen will never reach soil as it will get entangled in other plants or non-organic surfances. Secondly, of the pollen that successfully lands on soil, only around 20% of pollen chains will be long enough to gather enough nutrients from the soil to begin growing, presuming the soil is fertile enough to nourish the pollen. As a result, even with sqaths of pollen released on the daily, the density of enervated ivy growth rapidly declines over increased distance as the pollen is divided into such small quantities that it is unable to produce a new plant.
Enervated Ivy is a slow-growing plant, often taking decades to become fully grown. However, the expansion of the plant had been deemed endless as the various branching strands of ivy have not been seen to reach a definable limit. In the general application of biology when studying enervated ivy, the plant will be divided based on the division segments. When it forks into two expanding branches, the original segment is considered individual from the new branching segment. With the properties of the plant, it is difficult to identify where the ivy originates or other completely separate plants grow together when in close confines, such as the Vineyard of Nightmares.
Generally, it takes around 2 years for a large stretch of a single ivy plant to reach the adult stage. While the roots and immediate branches will grow to adulthood in just under a year, the extended body of the ivy vines won't begin to reach the adult stage until over 2 years after sprouting.
Ancient enervated ivy usually takes an additional 3 to 8 years to mature from adulthood. The advanced stages of development are far more potent, often experiencing an exponential period of incubation in the far reach of the branch network. Some veins of ivy can take centuries for maturation to reach the furthest branches of the vinery.
3 Stages of Growth
The youngest form of ivy, producing no flowers or pollen; it appears no different than any other species of ivy
The most common form of enervated ivy, producing an average quantity of pollen; the adult stage is the primary form, providing the most flowers and pollen
The eldest form of ivy, possessing larger flowers and generating more pollen, usually only releasing their pollen 4 times a year
It's almost impossible to identify the origin of any single ivy. A single sprout easily develops into an expansive collection of branches, all in different stages of growth. The adult stages release a constant flow of pollen, saturating the air throughout the year. The ancient branches of enervated ivy are even more potent, releasing large quantities of pollen with an increase in efficiency.
The Vineyard of Nightmares is constructed from a number of individually growing ivy systems. Without getting near to the location, it's impossible to identify all of the individual plants. What can be determined is that there are a number of ancient ivy stems, releasing pollen at the beginning of each tropic season. During these seasons, the pollen travels in the air further than normal; in the surrounding towns, the pollen can infect water sources and fill the air. While not proving lethal, the ancient vines' release of pollen is, decidedly, stronger than that of the pollen released by adult ivy vines.
-- Lalau Agoseru; Plantae of the Tolupato Region
Illegal dealers have collected strands around the world, preparing pollen and flowers for distribution among underground drug enterprises. The locations from which the deals work are always carefully isolated, every single flowering having the potential to bring a new wave of epidemic invasion or major repercussions if discovered. While the production chain is capable of utilizing the rapid growth and adaptable habitat to their advantage, enervated ivy's pollen production has to be carefully monitored and manipulated, artificially altering the nutrients the vine receives to increase or decrease the density of pollen.
Native to the tropics of Tolupato, few strands of enervated ivy have ever left the isolated isle. The ivy primarily grows in the tropics. It needs a minimal supply of freshwater to sustain itself, though growth does consumer a larger quantity of water. The warmer climate has allowed for it to adapat to all kinds of weather it may face, from a hurricane to blistering heat, while still blossoming year-round. Enervated ivy requires a constant supply of nutrients; after it begins to grow, it can easily acquire additional nutrients by burrowing its way into the soil. Rather ambiolvent as to the surrounding landscape, enervated ivy can grow almost anywhere that it can gather enough nutrients to sprout. As a result, enervated ivy, while local to the tropics, doesn't have any particular habitat needs.
The mutualistic relationship developed between enervated ivy and fungi is individual to the enervated species of ivy. Developed from the fungi's consumption of organic material and enervated ivy's ability to utilize additional nutrients—which have been deemed irrelevant to the fungi—to enhance the potency and production of the pollen. In this relationship, neither species is placed at a deficit; all benefits are provided by excess materials produced by the species.
Oftentimes, the procreation of these fungal species is similar to that of the enervated ivy. The species' reproduction is reliant upon the existence of enervated ivy. Since the ivy's spread is usually by air and travels long distances, there are a range of species including rapidly evolving fungi—which are believed to adapt to the enervated ivy's needs wherever it goes.
Several strands, most predominantly found in the Vineyard of Nightmares, are believed to have gradually adapted like many of the animal species. Due to the variance, these fungi species are incapable of pursuing enervated ivy over long distances, forced to remain within close proximity to the Vineyard of Nightmares.
Steer clear of the Vineyard of Nightmares. There are creatures there that tear man limb from limb with poisons strong enough to kill an army.
— Common Warning to Children
Developed during the centuries wherein enervated ivy occupied the Vineyard of Nightmares, a number of species acquiring an immunity to the effects of the pollen. While not giving any benefit to the ivy itself, the unique strands of species possess a commensalism relationship. The ivy offers the animals protection, allowing them to prosper away from human reach.
Many of these species have also had the opportunity to further evolve and adapt to the situation, developing venoms and toxins similar to those produced by the enervated ivy. Due to this side-effect of the minor evolutions, the individual strands of species found in the Vineyard of Nightmares are listed among many of the most lethal animals on the planet.
Uses & Products
If properly managed and harvested, the pollen and petals from enervated ivy can be be crafted into several drugs, both medicinal and recreational. Though the effectiveness and influence of the drug can vary based on the production process, the pollens and petals provide powerful effects—primarily hallucinogenic in nature—and minimal dangerous side-effects.
While enervated ivy was once a crucial cultural aspect in the Tolupato Nations, the eventual ban placed upon harvesting the ivy pollen lead to a decline in the production of legal substances and a rise in illegal drug production around Tolupato.
Enervayed ivy may be the source of a number of drugs, but it's dangerous. If you can't properly managed the growth and pollen, the enervated ivy could wipe out the operation in a single day. It's taken decades to construct even a few small manufacturing plants with any slightest success.
— PhantomV Dealer
The sleep-inducing pollen can be condensed into a pill form, known for being one of the most effective, natural sedatives. However, due to the rampant growth enervated ivy was outlawed for production of drugs. Some smaller cities in the Tolupato Nations have historically produced drugs to induce sleep, however, all relating enterprises eventually failed when the enervated ivy had to be removed to prevent the creation of second Vineyard of Nightmares.
Illegal drugs distilled from the pollen of enervated ivy are also popular among the criminal underworld. Inhalents, generally turned into a liquid substance, are commonly used to sedate captives. If properly synthesized, a pollen-based sedative can be formed to induce near-instantaneous sleep.
The other form of drug manufactured from enervated ivy, illegalized world-wide, is a drug called Phentisae Vernosa, better known by its streetname PhantomV. Produced through the process of enhancing the potency of the pollen and incorporating the extracted chemicals with stimulants, it induces a unique and highly addictive halucinogen.
PhantomV has permiated the criminal underworld, resulting in a near-epidemic level addiction ensaring impoverished towns across Aesontis. As a result, a number of nations have attempted, with very little success, to erradicate the production of PhantomV. Despite all attempts, PhantomV and other enervated ivy drugs constitute the majority of the underground drug industry.