The Bliss Nettle, also called the Euphoic Nettle, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant located in temperate regions of Solia. Originating in the black markets of Leithlein, the Bliss Nettle is a derivative of the common nettle found in the forests of Nuaira.
Like the Stygiata herb, the Bliss Nettle is a monoecious herbaceous perennial plant with soft, spearhead-shaped green leaves ranging between one to six inches (2.5 to 15.2 cm) in length growing from a central stem in an opposite orientation. The flowers of the Bliss Nettle are small (one-quarter inch or 0.6 cm diameter), green or light brown (male) or purple (female) in color, and rest in dense clusters at the crux of the stem and leaf. The leaves and stem of the Bliss Nettle are covered in small hollow hairlike structures whose tips break off upon contact. Once broken, the nettle injects a chemical that, causes a sense of tranquil euphoria among most Humanoid Species. The Oroka have not displayed any reaction to the Bliss Nettle, and have reported the plant's leaves as "ticklish." The Bliss Nettle grows from a wide-spreading, pale yellow rhizome; a single nettle may spread as far as 500 feet (152 meters), sending up runners roughly every three feet (1 meter), and grow to between one to four feet (0.3 to 1.2 meters) in height at maturity, shorter than the Stygiata by almost three feet (one meter).
Cultivated Bliss Nettle can live for decades with proper care. A single specimen (known as the Silver Nettle) being studied at the University of Ubressa has been observed to be over 300 years old. Sages speculate that a single nettle has no natural end of its lifespan.
Genetics and Reproduction
The Bliss Nettle reproduces through pollination. Common pollinators include bees, bumblebees, butterflies and moths, and hummingbirds, who carry the pollen between flowers in search of nectar. Bliss Nettle nectar has been made into honey that provides a much milder, less-enveloping sensation than a direct sting. The Nettle can also reproduce themselves from the rhizomes that form underground stems that extend out and grow, producing new shoots, enabling the nettle plants to spread. Plants growing in the shade produce approximately 500 to 5,000 seeds per shoot and plants growing in full sunlight produce 10,000 to 20,000 seeds per shoot. Seeds remain on the plant until frost when they fall to the ground. Seeds are not dormant and can germinate 5 to 10 days after maturity.
Growth Rate & Stages
The Bliss Nettle grows at a rate of 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) per week until reaching its full height at maturity, roughly four weeks from breaking through the surface, typically in early (or simulated) summer conditions. The first frost of winter kills the growth, and the plant dies back to the soil to winter over. The rhizomes survive through the winter to begin the cycle again the next year.
Ecology and Habitats
Bliss Nettle is considered an understory growth in wetter or forested regions, though it does grow less frequently in open meadows. Like its precursor, it thrives in places with moist soil and heavy annual rainfall but does not fare well in regions with an average winter temperature of 30º F (-1º C) or less.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Bliss Nettle is sold in the underworld markets throughout Omath but has similar byproducts to Stygiata herb.
Culinary UseThe Nettle has a flavor similar to spinach mixed with cucumber when cooked and is rich in vitamins. Soaking nettles in water or cooking removes the chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without effect. It is noted that the water the nettles are soaked in becomes saturated with the intoxicant chemicals. After the nettle enters its flowering and seed-setting stages, the leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths, which can irritate the urinary tract. In its peak season, the nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable. Alcoholic beer can be made from young nettles, which serves as a strong intoxicant that duplicates the normal effects of alcohol while also maintaining the euphoric intoxication the plant normally provides.
"Only a fool turns Bliss into a shirt!"As with the Stygiata herb, Bliss Nettle stems contain a bast fiber that has been traditionally used for the same purposes as linen and is produced by a similar retting process. The fibers are coarser, however.
The Bliss Nettle is considered illicit in the Kingdom of Nuaira, where it is eradicated when discovered. It is highly prized by underworld elements, and as such is cultivated and protected wherever it can be grown. Due to the high value of a mature Bliss Nettle plant, growing fields are often heavily guarded, often by magical means, including constructs, or undead, immune to the nettle's sting).
"Fool died chasing the Bliss. Found himself a field, didn't notice the golem even as it stomped him into the dirt."
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