Grem is an aquatic plant harvested by the Jhuyu that is used to treat infrared deprivation in the Zhilé(Species). It grows prolifically through the kelp beds farmed by the Jhuyu for food and fish. This plant is not a parasite in the sense of drawing nutrients or water from the host plant, but it does use the long stable structure of kelp plants to grow its own root structure. Aquatic spores deposited by the ocean currents on the top of a kelp plant take hold if the spore is within a small enough distance from the ocean surface to pick up traces of extraplanetary infrared radiation. Once attached, the spore first uses its reserves of infrared energy to grow a single stalk up to the surface, where it unfolds into a floating cluster of leaves. This is the most fragile state of the plant--if the waves are high or a storm comes in, the single stalk is easily broken and that spore had failed its chance of reproduction. As soon as the leaf unfurls, the part of the plant near the spore rapidly sends anchoring tendrils down the main body of the kelp plant, adhering in many places and sometimes penetrating the plant for added support. When the strands reach the sea floor, they quickly thicken until breakage is unlikely and the newly secured Grem sends out more leaves toward the surface. These leaves collect the infrared radiation required by the plant, which it stores in structures near the seafloor. As more leaves cover the surface, the host kelp plant is slowly deprived of light and dies away, leaving the now-strong Grem stalks in its wake. Both the Grem spores and storage structures have a sort of bioluminescence visible from within the water and, if a Grem colony is sufficiently large and "well-stocked", from boats at the surface. The Jhuyu see Grem as a pervasive weed and much of their farming involves locating newly adhered spores and removing them before the plant can flourish. When Shalzerh began trading with the Zhilé, it was discovered that Grem storage structures significantly improved the health of those Zhilé whose social roles (such as mining) keep them from the sun and the infrared needed for good health. Since this discovery, the Jhuyu have dedicated some kelp beds to the harvest of Grem, which is then traded to coastal Zhilé for refinement and transport inland to larger cities.
Ecology and Habitats
This plant grows in marine kelp beds and thrives especially in those beds near freshwater output.