Blaswch Y Dŵr
Blaswch Y Dŵr is a species of small trees whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea. This species is native to Midmore and is grown using a mixture of natural resources and druidic magic. The trees are mutated by the druid circle's innate powers to provide different flavours of tea each year. The leaves and flowers also contain a high level of caffeine which helps to promote the tea created as a solution to late night working. Although there is the traditional tea plant that is most common across Arrasgoth, this particularly species is the rarest and most popular. It can only be found in Midmore and is fiercely protected by their population. Stealing the tea plants can result in severe punishment. The plants cannot reproduce on their own so the druids need to take a cutting and use artificial propagation.
I've always felt that names should be obvious. Why name something complicatedly?Blaswch Y Dŵr was first named by a gnomish botanist, Nyxis Lightstitch, who was also the first to discover the leaves could be used to make a type of tea. The name is originally in Gnomish but translates into Common as 'Flavour the Water' and it's name is a literal description of what the plant does. Most of the gnomes and firbolgs who work with the plant call it Blaswch for short, translating directly to 'Flavour'. On the other hand, common folk who buy the tea just call it tea or 'tea tree'. Only people in Midmore and more focused botanists call them by their full name.
DescriptionBlaswch Y Dŵr are evergreen but their flowers blossom in a variety of colours that are cultivated each year. There is a normal strain of these plants that grow a kind of tea that is purely natural in flavour. The plain strain has yellow-white flowers, and can only be indiscernible from a regular tea plant by practiced eyes, specifically the druids that inhabit Midmore. The flowers from the mutated strains change dependening on flavour and are influenced by the magic that grows them. The most common colours tend to be from the brighter spectrum to be more obvious to predatorial birds to keep them away from destroying the plants. They grow to be no more than 1 metre high at maximum but most are cut down to 50cm tall or shorter. The flowers are harvested for their colours to make dyes for the teas, and the leaves themselves are harvested to provide the flavouring. The lifespan of the trees are short which is a constant concern for the gnomes and firbolgs of Midmore. Despite their constant attention to keeping the plants safe and magical nurtured, there seems to be no visible way to extend their life expectancy. The plants will die the moment they reach the end of their fifth year with no obvious signs of why or how. The plants wither almost instantly on the first day of their sixth year, before disintegrating into an ash-like substance on the second day.
The DiscoveryThe discovery of Blaswch Y Dŵr was mostly by accident in 400 BTU. Nyxis Lightstitch was somewhat of a taster when it came to her exploration of the world of plants. Known for picking up flora and licking them, she often found herself on the other end of a healing spell. She discovered a small collection of these trees surrounding an old oak tree, no more than five of them at the time. They were barely growing and on the verge of extinction when she tested them by licking one of the leaves. She felt the taste had potential but needed more substance to them, so combined them with water to see whether that had an impact. After much experimentation with the leaves, and various attempts at growing the plants with her own innate druidic power, she discovered the best way to use the leaves was to put them in boiling water, just like traditional tea. She took the last remaining plant home with her to Midmore and the expansion of the species continued from there, turning Midmore into the hub of tea trade it is now. A druid circle was created specifically for the caring and cultivation of the tree, the Circle of Dŵr. This circle's only focus is on the plants and no other areas. The circle is very restrictive due to the need to protect this somewhat endangered species, so they are very careful about who can join their ranks. They use the profit they make to help sustain the farms and themselves. Many have seen this as a selfish reason, but it is for the safety of the plants themselves. The druids were trained by Nyxis to care for the plants and only they are aware of the magic needed to grow and sustain them. It has been known for those with more money than sense to try and steal the plants to grow their own. They quickly found themselves on the wrong side of an angry druid circle.
The Magical MutationsThe Blaswch Y Dŵr traditionally did not have all the flavours that the tea now creates. It is through the product of druidic magic that the species has evolved and flourished to the state it is in now. Originally they intended to infuse it with innate druidic power only using the spell Plant Growth. The inhabitants of Midmore discovered that by adding in spell components within the growing mix of the plants, they were able to change the flavours and colours of the flowers and leaves to whatever they felt like. This, however, has led to the speculation that the constant infusing of other ingredients has led to the weak lifespan of the plants. It's unclear whether the Blaswch Y Dŵr can be given a longer lifespan by not magically altering the plants, and little research has been done into finding the direct origins of the plant in order to give it the optimal growing conditions. There also is concern about the ecological damage the spells might cause on the surrounding environment, but as of right now, no correlation negative or positive has been found.
The problems that come with Blaswch Y Dŵr is the fact that it cannot be kept 'pure'. The pure species, without magic, lasts a year at most. Without our intervention, this species would be lost.
ParasitismOne of the major concerns with Blaswch Y Dŵr is the fact that it has been taken from one source - the final tree that rested in the place Nyxis Lightstitch discovered. Due to this, the plants are extremely vulnerable to any form of blight as they have not built up any resistances. There is no real genetic diversity amongst these plants. If one is vulnerable to one disease, all of them are so can be wiped out in moments. The only protection the plants have against rots and infections are the magical protection that comes from the druid, but any slight disease that one of the plants caught could wipe out the entire tree plantation. The druidic magic that was infused with the plants could be considered as a way to give the plants more protection. However, any protection effects but on the plant will not hold for more than 24 hours. It is unclear why this is the case.
CultivationBlaswch Y Dŵr is created using the cuttings from the original plant by artificial propagation. This process is done by removing one of the leaves within the fifth year and planting it directly into the soil. The tree is then coaxed into a small growth by druidic power to create the sapling of the tree ready for the five years of the new tree's life. Due to the sudden death of the plants, there was a concern that they would lose plants quickly and that the species would become extinct. To prepare for this, the druids created ten plantations of the trees to make sure that they are never without any of the plants. Three are left empty for each year to prepare the soil for the new growing season. One plantation is kept growing the natural plant which is kept secure and regulated more often than the other crops. The other six plantations are kept for the cultivation of the mutated trees, with two for each flavour. The soil that the trees are grown in are fertilised by the druids using their own natural growing power, as well as using the ash from the previously deceased trees that were planted there. The ash provides the plants with more nutrients and helps to further increase the flavour of the leaves. The ash does not cause any harm to the trees, despite the quick death that occurs to cause it.
FlavoursIn its purest form, when unassisted in its growth by using magic, Blaswch Y Dŵr has the typical flavour of tea. They are the rarest of these species as magical mutations and mutagens has helped make the changed flavour variety easier to grow. There are only a handful of the plain flavoured Blaswch Y Dŵr in existence and they are kept under the most protection. Due to the nature of the plants, only one cutting can be taken at a time from one plant. If more than one is taken at any time, the plant can wither almost instantly as if under the effects of magic. It is unclear why. The inhabitants of Midmore have adapted and changed the flavourings of the trees over time to reflect their own opinions, magic and what is happening in the world around them. Each year they have three main flavours of teas, alongside the plain flavoured tea. The three flavours are cultivated by the oldest inhabitants, the youngest inhabitants, and the general population as a whole. This gives everyone a chance to use their magic and to help provide new and exciting flavours for the trees each year. The three mutated flavours for this current year are:
Raspberry and White Hibiscus Tea - The Oldest CultivationThe flowers appear pink in colour with white lines appearing to be drawn along the inside. The magic was infused with both a raspberry plant and a white hibiscus plant to create the taste.
Chocolate and Lemon Tea - The Youngest CultivationThe flowers appear yellow in colour with brown lines appearing to be drawn along the inside. The magic was infused with both cocoa and lemon seeds to create the taste.
Beer Tea - The General CultivationThe flowers appear brown in colour but give off the smell of a overused brewery. The plant was magically grown inside of a beer keg to create the taste.
TradingBlaswch Y Dŵr are not traded themselves, as stated before, as they are fiercely protected by the druids of Midmore. However, the tea itself is packaged and sold to the majority of towns and cities across the continent. The main trade hub for the tea had been Egomont within the market of Egomont, but they now trade predominently in Purgatory where the Egomont market has moved to. It is known that you can get the best deal for the tea by speaking directly to the druids at Midmore rather than buying from one of the other settlements.
You know, this is so good, it would be criminal NOT to pay!
Other UsesAlthough the main uses of Blaswch Y Dŵr is in the making of the tea, the plant also has other properties, which makes it a useful component or ingredient in other products.
ConstructionThe bark of Blaswch Y Dŵr trees is extremely flexible and therefore can be used to create strong bindings for fences and ties, though it is rarely seen outside of the buildings of Midmore. The bindings are not the strongest type that could be used, but they also have the added benefit of making the house smell faintly of tea.
PotionsThe flowers have also been used in certain potions to help speed up the ingesting process due to the high level of caffeine in the plant. It has been known to be used within Haste potions in particular to further improve on the sudden change in speed the potion creates.
Blaswch Y Dŵr trees are under the protection of Midmore.
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