Canopeia

The roots of a nation

C
anopeia trees are not a distinct species, but rather a family of species that are prevalent throughout Excilior. Every species of canopeia is primarily known for its epic size. But four separate versions of the tree exist on Isleprimoton, Islemanoton, Islegantuan, and the island nation of Ucarania.
 
Thirsty Giants
Canopeias require an obscene amount of rainfall. They need so much water that they struggle to survive even in relatively wet environments like the inner highlands - where grasslands often reign supreme. But if afforded the copious amounts of water needed to thrive, they can expand their footprint to the point that they dominate the landscape.
 
Stout
The trees can vary substantially between regions, but they all feature massive size. This is believed to be an evolutionary adaption to the world-changing razers that routinely sweep the land. Juvenile canopeias are often annihilated by the terrible force of the gales. But those canopeias lucky enough to survive to adulthood usually have the tensile strength to resist the stormy demons. Those trees, in turn, serve as an anchoring force for an entire forest ecosystem that ultimately depends upon their solid footing for survival.

Basic Information

Growth Rate & Stages

C
anopeias never stop growing. But they also grow at an incredibly slow rate.

Its first 100-200 years can see robust growth. During this juvenile phase, it will expand rapidly to establish a foothold. But these early centuries are also vulnerable ones for the tree. Its roots are still relatively shallow, its trunk is borderline-insufficient to support its growing canopy, and the strength of its wood is diminished. Once this juvenile phase has passed, the tree's growth will slow dramatically.   In bountiful years, its rings can indicate a growth rate as high as 1.5 centimeters. In lean years, the rings can require professional assessment to distinguish, because they bunch so closely together. Although the early life of a canopeia tree is extremely precarious, mature trees feature exceptional strength and their lumber is incredibly hardy. The wood of ancient, slow-growth canopeias has been described as "organic ore".

Ecology and Habitats

C
anopeias follow the rain. They have an insatiable appetite for freshwater. As such, they are only found in those environments where the rain is frequent and plentiful. But those qualifiers apply to a large percentage of Excilior landmasses. Therefore, the trees are ubiquitous across the planet.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

C
anopeias are used extensively for habitation throughout Islemanoton and western Islegantuan. This practice was originally fostered by The First Mother herself. She recognized an arboreal life as a tactical advantage against those who would threaten her settlements, and she encouraged her citizens to respond accordingly.   Although canopeia trees have never taken a backseat in casterway society, there have been ages where tree-dwelling has fallen into disfavor - viewed amongst the elite as "primitive" or "uncivilized". However, the practical benefits of this lifestyle have always been more actively embraced by the inhabitants of Islemanoton and Islegantuan. No society in Isleprimoton has employed large-scale tree habitation in well over a millennium.
 
Harvesting
They are an obvious source of lumber, although their sheer scale and their position in many casterway societies can make it difficult or impractical to harvest them. Felling a mature old-growth specimen can require a workforce of well-over 100 and the effort can take weeks, or even months.   Trying to chop down a canopeia by simply hewing its trunk is barely viable and can be an invitation to disaster. Even modern tools struggle with the task and the tree's epic size makes it difficult to guide its fall toward any given direction. With this in mind, canopeias are typically carved up where they stand. Minor branches (which can still have a diameter over a meter) are shorn first. Major branches are then removed, making every effort to keep the behemoth "balanced" as it's being dismantled. Finally, the trunk is attacked in stages, shaving massive shards from it with longsaws.   When the objective is to harvest lumber, every effort is made to find dead trees that can be carved up from their prone positions. This is purely a matter of convenience because it's so much harder to dismantle them when they're upright.
 
Deference
Removing them to clear land is a touchier subject that is viewed differently between disparate societies. The Tallonai and the Elladoran peoples rarely fell a canopeia for the primary purpose of clearing land. The trees are seen as borderline-sacred and they often serve as abodes for humans and animals while alive. So these societies frown upon felling canopeias merely to access the underlying land. In the rare occasions when those peoples do feel the need to clear a canopeia tree, the event is accompanied by great ceremony and reverence. Prayers are offered. Extensive efforts are made to gently relocate the broad flora and fauna that reside in-and-on the tree. And when the tree is finally brought down, it is a sober affair.   Other societies don't have nearly the same reservations about clearing canopeias. But the effort required still makes it an unusual activity. Many cultures have preferred building around an existing canopeia, rather than trying to outright remove it. For example, in Jontzu architecture, it is quite common to see rooms, or even entire structures, that feature the massive canopeia trunk rising right through the structure itself, unimpeded.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

C
anopeias are found on all significant Excilior landmasses, although the size and species of canopeia differs according to the continent/country on which they are found:

  • Isleprimoton: (dionaea franinenetto) These trees "only" average a height of 60 meters and their canopies average a diameter of 40 meters. Their leaves are thinner, characterized by a thin silvery hue, and 50% of them are lost every year. They are referred to colloquially as the Royal Canopeia due to their metallic hue.
  • Islemanoton: (dionaea forinato) Averaging a height of 100 meters, with canopies averaging a diameter of 90 meters. Their leaves are thick and waxy with dark purple spots. Less than 25% of the leaves are lost every year. They are referred to colloquially as the Legacy Canopeia due to their status in the ancient society of Auld Cervia.
  • Islegantuan: (dionaea alnifolia) Averaging a height of 100 meters, with canopies averaging a diameter of 100 meters. Their leaves are thick and deep purple in color. Less than 10% of the leaves are lost every year. They are referred to colloquially as the Mother's Canopeia.
  • Ucarania: (dionaea alfinato) The grandest of all canopeias. Their epic size follows from the razer assaults they endure in most years. Averaging a height of 120 meters, with canopies averaging a diameter of 140 meters. Their leaves are forest green and as thick as leather. They don't consistently lose any leaves per year. Each leaf will last for many years before falling to the forest floor. They are referred to colloquially as the Queen Canopeia, due to their association as the biggest and mightiest of all canopeia trees.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

C
ommunities throughout history have bestowed honored names upon individual trees. This can be spawned by historic events which took place on-or-around the tree. It can also originate from a given tree's strategic location. For example, many cities are centered upon a single, ancient canopeia, and those featured specimens are often granted special monikers that reflect their central position in the society.

History

T
he canopeia has been a critical factor in most human civilizations throughout casterway history. In the early annals of Auld Cervian society, the trees offered a tactical advantage to anyone who deigned to attack Cervia's fledgling civilization. Even for those peoples who did not embrace the mighty trunks as a direct source of shelter, the canopeia has served as a continuing anchor against the annihilating forces of the planet's terrible razers.   Even when the tree has not provided a tangible benefit to the broader population, it has served as an overriding symbol of life, survival, and rebirth. Several modern nations feature canopeia outlines prominently in their flags or associated imagery. The canopeia has even taken on a religious connotation for many of the world's greatest societies. For these peoples, there is an overall mindset that: as long as the canopeias continue to stand, their cultures will continue to endure and thrive.

Pronunciation cann-oh-PAY-uh
Scientific Name
The dionaea family of trees
Lifespan
At least 1,200 years - although some estimates put their average lifespan much higher
Average Height
100 meters
Average Weight
A full-grown specimen can easily weigh more than 3,000 metric tons
Average Length
100 meters

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