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Titan Tree

In all of my travels studying the vast varieties of the fauna of our planet, never have I gazed upon a more magnificent tree. What a wonder our world must have been back in the beginning with so many wondrous species.
— Salvia Maior, foremost expert on plants species
      The Titan Trees are enormous trees and perhaps the largest individual plants to have ever lived on Domen Aria. Living to ancient ages and growing hundreds of feet tall and dozens of feet wide, entire species have been observed to live entirely in one tree. With their discovery by humanoids, many of them have also taken to living not only among the great tree forests, but even building homes in and living amid their great branches as well.

Basic Information

Growth Rate & Stages

While its initial growth from sprout to sapling is its most rapid pace, it is still a significantly slower grower than any other tree species in the world and takes over 100 years to reach maturity. Average growth of 1 mm of thickness per year is typical of this species.  Yearly growth in height is variable and is dependent on many factors including available water, sunlight, temperature, and soil composition.

Ecology and Habitats

This tree is only found in locations that are high in sunlight, water availability, and nutrients. Sunny, humid, temperate to subtropical environments are best for this species. Often found on south facing, gentle mountain slopes, wide stream systems, and foggy areas, all known for bringing vast quantities of water to the root system. This also allows for the trees to survive the dry but sunny summers in preparation for the snowy winters.   The thick, dense bark provides resistance to the summer fires that periodically spring up and also prevents other animals and insects from eating or damaging the tree. The grooves and striations in the bark funnels rain water down to the base of the tree where it can be absorbed by the roots for maximum capture.

Dietary Needs and Habits

This great tree requires long days of bright sunlight, high humidity, and a moist, nutrient rich soil. The wide branching root system digs deep into the ground with a large tap root for anchoring purposes as well as storage for the large amounts of water and nutrients it needs for the dry summers and snowy winters.

Biological Cycle

During the autumn, the leave retain an increased sugar content and fall after turning from green to yellow. The newly fallen leaves serve several purposes by attracting animals to the sugary leaves. Herbivores will eat and remove the leaf litter build up, reducing the chance for next summer’s fires, allowing more water to seep into the ground, and allowing the trees seeds to more easily reach the soil below. The animals will also be returning much needed nutrients to the area through their ingestion and egestion processes.   As winter approaches the trees shut down all nonessential processes and hibernate for the winter, living off of what they have stored in their root systems.   When spring arrives, their large buds open into deep green leaves, followed shortly by their white and pink flowers. Nonpollinated flowers fall to the forest floor, while pollinated flowers produce long seed pods that slowly grow and develop over the following decade. Mature seed pods will open at the end of the 10th spring, dispersing the dense seeds into the forest where they sink into the soil before sprouting.   During the summer the trees obtain and store as much water and nutrients as they can in preparation for the winter. Newly sprouted trees will also begin to grow at this time. It is not uncommon for these notorious slow growers to have a first season growth spurt of 5 feet in preparation for the deep winter snow.

Additional Information

Domestication

There has been no success in transplanting or growing this plant outside of its home territory. During artificial attempts, 90% of seeds fail to sprout and the 10% that do, quickly shrivel and die without explanation.    Several recent attempts are underway to try and reseed the Titan Trees of the destroyed Cloudmist Forest. As of yet all attempts have failed with no seeds sprouting and all transplanted seedlings have withered and died.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

One would think that due to this tree’s tremendous size that it would make for an excellent supply of lumber, however its incredible hardness, strength, and resilience prevent saws and axe blades from damaging it. Would be lumberjacks are quickly surprised by the destruction to their tools and their ineffectiveness at felling the huge trees. On the rare occasion that a tree falls due to natural means, severe storms, landslides, earthquakes, or weakening roots, the long fall and brittle wood often shatter and splinter the heartwood, making it useless as a building material.   Due to the trees great size, they have often served as a natural protector and safe zone for many species, including the recent arrival of humanoids seeking to live among their boughs. Several nature oriented communities have begun to spring up and construct their homes in the branches of the enormous trees themselves, such as the halfling town of Awan and the village of Bragu Berg.   The citizens of Bragu Berg have also recently discovered a way of making a sweet tea from the leaves of the giant tree as well. Exportation in large quantities of both a cold and hot variety now exist.   A more mysterious use of these trees has been in the construction of several varieties of magical staves, including the Staves Of Power through the use of the Staff Magic process. Just how the wood for these staves was acquired is unknown and still remains a mystery.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

The exact range of these ancient trees has been lost to time, but several groves and forests still exist. All known locations today have abundant sunlight, dry summers, snowy winters, and generally high humidity environments.   The most famous locations are the sunny village of Bragu Berg, just south of the slopes of the Breakridge Mountains in the west, the halfling town of Awan, in the foggy hills near Hook Horn Bay, and the old valleys of the Danse River tributaries.

Average Intelligence

Plant

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

Due to the thick, dense bark, no parasites or diseases can enter into the great trees. This does not prevent organisms from nestling into the many nooks and crannies of the branches and bark. Several species of cold resistant air plants such as bromeliads and orchids can on occasion be found here as well as many insects. The Iridescent Stone Moth caterpillar would be the most commonly found nuisance on the tree. Fortunately the Needle Beak Woodpecker enjoys making a snack of them while searching among the branches.

Civilization and Culture

Common Myths and Legends

According to certain elven children’s tales, the Titan Trees were the first living things created on the planet and the elves were later created as their protectors. Who or what they needed protection from is unknown. That knowledge is now lost to time or perhaps was deliberately erased from history, if we are to believe that the old children’s tales are even true.
Scientific Name
Titano Arbors
Lifespan
Unknown with many trees that are several thousand years old. It is said that they are the first and oldest living things in the world.
Conservation Status
All communities that live in or near the amazing trees have a great love of this rare species and will fight to the death to protect them.
Average Height
These enormous trees average about 250 feet tall with several individuals reaching nearly 350 feet tall.
Average Length
Averaging 30 to 50 feet wide, with a few trees even reaching 70 feet or more in diameter.
Average Physique
Despite being a very tall tree, this species is very wide and stout with long forking branches.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
The bark of this tree is a strong reddish-brown with deep grooves and striations throughout.  The leaves begin with a deep green color in the spring that fades to a bright yellow before falling off for the winter. Flowers appear shortly after the leaves and are a milky white color with a single pink stripe on each petal leading to the flowers center.

Silica Absorption

 
One of the rare properties of the Titano Arbors is its ability to absorb silica minerals from the soils and incorporate them into the very fibers and cells of the tree itself. This added mineral acts as a stone casing around each cell. I believe that it is through this property that the trees gain their increased strength and density. This may account for the ability to support their great weight, grow so large, and be so resistant to damage.
— From Salvia Maior’s Treatise On Trees
     

Fireproofing

 
Fires are rare in the humid environments where these trees grow, but when the rare fire does encounter this tree, very little damage is incurred. Studies suggest that the tree’s silica laden bark has a deterring effect on the fires. In circumstances when fires do reach the trees, its outermost bark will lightly singe and develop a thin layer of ash and silica that smothers the flames and prevents them from spreading farther along the tree. The great thickness of the bark prevents any real damage to the tree itself, but it will show signs of a blackened superficial nature.
— From Salvia Maior’s Treatise On Trees
     
They said that these trees were so big that they were even fire proof. I guess that didn’t include magical fires. The infernal salamander Balinorraza, tested that theory when it burned the grove of Titan Trees of Cloudmist Forest. What a sad sight to watch those giants burn. They lit up the nights with a bright orange and red blaze, and the ashes fell for miles.
— Former mayor of Riverhaze and new mayor of Ashfall

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Comments

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4 Apr, 2021 18:01

Interesting article. I like how the trees are so large that they are the home of several humanoids. The fact that the leaves become more sugary before falling down is an interesting touch as well. Why are the trees fireproof though, because I think size doesn't really matter for that?

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
9 Apr, 2021 20:45

Thanks for the read. I added a little more about fireproofing, but they basically put out the fires that are on them by smothering them with a fine layer of ash and silica from the outer bark.

9 Apr, 2021 21:04

Oh nice that you added that ! :) great addition.

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
9 Apr, 2021 07:03

This is an interesting tree, nice article :D   "and allowing the trees seeds to easier reach the soil below" that should be "more easily"   "produce long seed pods that slowly grow and develop over the following decade" Just to confirm - do you mean that while the tree flowers every year, once a flower is pollinated and become a seed pod, it still stays attached for 10 years before it finally releases its seeds?   "On the rare occasion that a tree falls due to natural means," What can cause this? Very bad storm? Thunder falling on the trees? Diseases? Do the trees even have any parasites and any disease that affects them?   Rather than the trunk itself, can they climb up the tree and try to swathe branches? If they attached it with ropes beforehand, it shouldn't fall down to the ground…   "Who or what they needed protection from is unknown. That knowledge is now lost to time or perhaps was deliberately erased from history, if we are to believe that the old children’s tales are even true." I like how ominous this feel :D   Did the salamander in the sidebar killed all the trees or did that forest only represents a small proportion of the population?   Does everyone prefer to build their home in the branches rather than at the foot of the trees? Humans too?

9 Apr, 2021 21:01

Thanks for the read and comments. I've tried to address all of your great points and questions.   Yes the tree flowers every year and the fertilized flowers produce seed pods and they hang around for 10 years before opening in the 10th spring.   The trees don't usually fall but extreme circumstances can lead to them falling. Things like earthquakes, landslides, weakening roots, or soil giving out, and high winds.   There are no real parasites or diseases that can hurt this tree but there are a lot of other organisms that use the tree and may be considered pests.   The salamander did kill all of the trees in that particular forest but there are a few other forests farther away that were not impacted by those fires.   The communities that live in the titan tree forests do build their homes up in the trees, even the humans. There is more protection and fun up in the branches.   Thanks again.

12 Apr, 2021 22:14

Murder that damned salamander! O_O Make the final words it hears "If a Salamander falls in the forest, does it make a sound?"

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
13 Apr, 2021 03:56

Lol. Words to ponder. Thanks.