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Floating Blossom Tree

The Floating Blossom is a reminder that life is a cycle.
— Stella Phénix, Gardner
  Among the lost of the The Great Collapse are plants. Especially rare species that grew only when the soil, air, and sunlight could be just right and not change very much year after year. The collapse upended entire ecosystems introducing imbalances.  Many rare species of plants died out and were never to be seen in Awldor again. At least, that is what was assumed.  
That was until the discovery of The Tilava Vault, and the recovery of several strange seeds. The vault is an Ancient Order ruin located in the Northern Arctic Wastes and it was discovered by Archaeologist Savannah Pavlis. The seeds were shipped back to Centrum for safekeeping and study by the Camila Grand Library. It would not be long before a forgotten tree was reintroduced to the world by accident.

The Stubborn Seed

In the spring of 1250AGC, the Camila Grand Library tried to plant the seed in their garden so that they could see what would grow. When nothing happened, they moved the seed to a different soil. When nothing continued to happen, they tried to plant the seed in every kind of environment Visus Island was capable of supporting.   Frustrated that the seed would not grow, a groundskeeper threw it so hard it went over the wall and into a nearby stream. The stream then carried the seed into the sea and sight of it was lost. Next morning, many were astonished to find a sapling floating in the calm waters of the bay of Centrum. When the Library caught wind of what was happening, they managed to convince the guard to set a perimeter to both protect the sapling and to observe it.


An Unexpected Blossom

The tree grew quickly, appearing as a fully grown cherry blossom tree by the end of the month. It remained in this mature state for a month during which it grew immense three petal flowers at the tips of its many branches. These pink to purple color flowers were the size of a dinner plate. It was then that this species of tree was named the "Floating Blossom" for its appearance as well as its ability to float in the water.   Suggestions to plant more were made, but both the Camilla Grand Library and the Eustacia Archive as well as other organizations argued against doing so until the current tree had been thoroughly studied. The current Floating Blossom specimen earned a name from the inhabitants of Centrum: Bellissima. During its third month of the Bellissima's existence, the flowers began to fall from the tree as well as the leaves. In fact, it looked for all the world like it had reach the autumnal stage of other trees.

An Unexpected Withering

This prompted a closer investigation into the Floating Blossom tree, which seemed to be growing sicker. It was hypothesized that this pre-collapse tree could not survived the current environment. This hypothesis began to circulate around academic and research circles as evidence that today's environment had changed more than anyone thought from what it was pre-collapse. Some efforts were made to save the tree. One effort even involved removing it from the water and planting it in soil, but this only accelerated the tree's decay. By the end of the first week of the first month of the tree's existence, every leaf and flower of the Floating Blossom had fallen, and the tree itself rapidly withered and died.   Strangely, the flowers now floating in the relatively calm waters of Centrum's bay seemed entirely healthy. Many of these were picked up as souvenirs by many of the people of Centrum. A few of the flowers were recovered by the Camilla Grand Library both to preserve the flowers as long as possible and to memorialize Bellissima. Three of the flowers were left in the bay as a public memorial. Plans to plant any more of the seeds recovered from the Tilava Vault were put on hold.

The Gift of the Flowers

The flowers from the Floating Blossom Tree called Bellissima lasted for the rest of the third month before they too began to wither, including the ones in the safe keeping of the library. Many were understandably let down by how quickly such beauty had passed from their world. Some coped with this reality by making various artworks of the tree as well as the flowers. The flowers did leave behind seeds, and most of these seeds were collected by Centrum authorities. Some were kept hidden, and the three in the bay had disappeared.   For the next two days many had wondered what happened to the seeds, why the authorities failed to collect them in time, and who could have the will and means to swipe the seeds from the open waters without anyone noticing. This mystery did not last long as three new Floating Tree saplings were seen floating into the harbor in the early light of next morning. It was as if the seeds had hid themselves until they could grow.   Many were understandably excited at this happening. In light of public opinion, the library decided that those three trees would be allowed to grow again so as to offer a new opportunity to view and study the trees. These new trees had a surprise in store for their three months of existence: the flowers had five petals compared to the three from Bellissima and they were yellow to bright green in color. This prompted new theories as to the nature of the floating blossom and a dawning realization that the lifecycle of this tree was quite unlike most others.


Next Seasons

After the "summer" floating trees lived out their lives, new seeds were allowed to sprout in the harbor. These "autumn" floating blossoms had orange to red flowers each with four petals. The final "winter" floating blossoms had white to blue flowers each with three petals. The floating blossoms of the following spring in 1251AGC were very much like Bellissima in appearance; the tree blossoming with pink flowers with four petals each.   Word this remarkable tree soon reached neighboring ports of the Occulus Sea, and nearly all of these ports made offers to purchase their own floating blossom seeds. Such trades have continued into the current year of 1277AGC, though such seeds remain quite rare to other kinds of plants and so are expensive to acquire. Therefore, one stands the greatest chance of seeing a floating blossom in wealthy ports.   It is remarkable how one seed could reintroduce such a beautiful if peculiar tree to this shattered world.

The Tilava Vault (Actual Origin Unknown)
Geographic Distribution

Good for the Bees

  It seemed that in spite of everything that has changed in the world, the bees still find the nectar of the flowers of the floating blossom tree to be desirable.   As such, whenever a floating blossom tree is planted in calm waters the population of bees seems to rise as long as such trees keep getting planted every season.  

Happy Beekeepers

  One of the consequences of this is that more honey can be found in the area surrounding such trees.   Therefore, Beekeepers now desire to have a large pond with which to plant a floating blossom tree in.   The tree in turn can attract and keep healthy more bees. More bees means more honey, and both outcomes can mean a happier beekeeper.  

Note(s) from the Archivists:

  It's a shame they have to secure the one tree they keep growing in the port. Haven't been able to get close enough to secure one seed of our own. - Archivist Theta    Even if one of us had, would we admit it? - Archivist Enna    Now I have to wonder...  - Archivist Theta

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16 Mar, 2021 12:20

I wish I could see these trees in real life. I love that they grow and wither rapidly, but that each new generation goes through the seasons. I love the story of the history behind them too, and the fact that frustration led to the growth of the first tree.

Starfarer Theta
25 Mar, 2021 04:02

Thank you for that kind comment.

23 Mar, 2021 22:16

Hello! First of all, I really like the illustration styles of your world: the book covers and the cover of this article look fantastic.   As for the tree itself, it was great! There is a bit of sad poetry about this ephermeral tree, and the style helps to make the read pleasant.   How do the roots of the tree hold? Do they dig in the ground at the bottom? Or does the tree just exclusively float? If so, how does it get some nutrients? Or are those questions not meant to be asked?   Anyway, well done!

With love,   Pouaseuille.   Here's my Bard entry, should anyone be interested in a mess of investigation reports!
Starfarer Theta
25 Mar, 2021 04:05

Thank you, and glad you like what you see in my world. :)   As for the tree's roots, they form a kind of buoyant plot of land around the tree no farther than its farthest branch. If you've seen Life of Pi, then ((spoiler alert)) its kinda like the floating island in that movie.

26 Mar, 2021 12:55

Those trees seem like quite the sight to behold. The entire history of the tree was a nice way of introducing the tree. I also like that there was a lot of mystery about it at first. Nice article!

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
Starfarer Theta
27 Mar, 2021 04:35


27 Mar, 2021 04:12

More bees! :) What a fascinating tree. I love how you write this as a story and how the flowers change with the season, or with each generation. I also really like how fast-growing and short-lived this tree is.

- Hello from Valayo! Featured work: How to Write Great Competition Articles
Starfarer Theta
27 Mar, 2021 04:36

Thank you for the kind comment. :D

27 Mar, 2021 18:12

Interesting and very cool concept. I am somewhat curious as to where it gets its nutrients from or how they actually float. but overall very well written article.

A new Challenge! Every Bard needs a tavern, and while Lone Gull may not be the resident entertainment, he did train the bard of Hell's Half-Acre.
6 Apr, 2021 10:04

The lifecycle of this tree is really unique! I like the appearance described here, and the details about beekeeping are a nice touch. I also like the implication that some archivists may have taken seeds secretly. Great work!

Creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source.   My Pledge for Summer Camp 2022
8 Apr, 2021 15:04

Hi Theta! I think you've done a wonderful job describing the plant's lifecycle and appearance through a simple story of the plant's history. The transition of the number of petals and colours of the trees (plus they float) is a nice creative touch to make your plant feel dynamic.

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
11 Apr, 2021 19:19

Nice article! I like how you've presented that as the different episode of a story.   Those trees sound very beautiful intriguing. I like how the flowers change with the season. I was wondering how the flowers were able to produce seeds, but I guess that was the work of the bees?   To the trees need salt water or would it be ok in lakes? What about a small pond in someone's garden? I'd imagine it would be quite the status symbol to have :D   " Even if one of us had, would we admit it? - Archivist Enna; Now I have to wonder... - Archivist Theta" XD

To see what I am up to, my latest article is Geography of magic for the River Challenge
15 Apr, 2021 15:44

The day that plants returned to our world, and the day that we realised they were here to stay, sound like beautiful days to go through.