Envyrabush

Bitter root of sustenance

T
he envyrabush is a common plant throughout southern Islemanoton and southwestern Islegantuan, especially in coastal regions. Although it's not particularly distinct from other "scrub bushes", it has a long history as a potential poison and, when necessary, a dietary source through the consumption of of its plentiful nuts, known as envyranotts.

As a Food Source
E
nvyranotts can serve as an excellent food source. They are rich in both calories and nutrients, and they are known to have fueled the survival of many individuals and, at times, entire societies. The nuts are harvested during the spring in Achiel and early Hielach, and during the fall in Gagavr and early Zielaph.
 
Harvesting
It's preferred to harvest the nuts later in the season rather than earlier. The early-season nuts require more work because their fleshy peels must be manually removed, whereas they will naturally wither and fall off by late-season. The early-season nuts also require more time to prepare because they naturally contain more of their bitter tannins that must be slowly leached out. Late-season nuts are milder and require much less preparation.
 
Bitterness
The nuts can technically be eaten straight from the bush, even in their early-season form. But this is rarely done because the meat of the nut is very tough, the taste is exceptionally bitter, and the unleached tannins it contains have a tendency to spawn a mild case of nausea. Nevertheless, if they are not eaten in excess and the diner doesn't mind the taste or the aftereffects, they can be consumed modestly in raw form with no long term side effects.
 
Preparation
Once harvested, the nuts are peeled (if their peels have not already fallen away by natural means) and set to soak in a simple brine for a period of 3-7 days. This brackish bath allows the caustic tannins to be naturally released. Early-season nuts must soak longer than late-season nuts. After soaking, they are placed in a fresh pot of water and boiled for 1-3 hours. Boiling softens the meat of the nut and makes it far easier to chew and digest.
 
Stigma
Although envyranotts have proven to be an invaluable staple amongst certain populations, and during certain periods of casterway history, they're typically only consumed by those who must, due to hunger or poverty. Even after thorough preparation, the taste is seen as bland, at best, and mildly offensive, at worst. With significant effort, they can be made more palatable, but that effort can usually be invested in cultivating and harvesting other food sources. Because of this, eating envyranotts is an activity that carries a certain stigma associated with the lower classes.

As a Poison
T
he preparation process yields a batch of water rich in caustic tannins. As such, that water is typically discarded. But with nefarious intent, it can be administered to someone as a kind of low-dose, slow-acting poison. In the right hands, if those tannins are further concentrated and distilled, the resulting liquid becomes a deadly toxin known as Hag's Thorn. Because envyrabushes are native to Islemanoton, the earliest seat of casterway civilization, Hag's Thorn is one of Excilior's oldest-known poisons. And the excruciating deaths it can trigger have been the basis of some of history's most brutal assassinations.

As a Fitness Regime
C
ervia Polonosa famously ate raw envyranotts nearly every day of her life after reaching the planet. She found them shortly after crashing off the coast of Islemanoton as she traveled around its southern tip. Originally, she ate them merely for survival as a simple food source on an alien planet about which she knew little. But long after she had access to more palatable cuisine, and even after she learned about the tannins in the nut that are usually leached out before consumption, she continued to eat at least a handful of raw envyranotts every day.
 
Constitution
Cervia was renowned for her constitution. She was fiercely resistant to disease and she could work longer, and at greater intensity, than most of her male colleagues. Over time, in the minds of others, and even in her own mind, her constitution came to be associated with the consumption of raw envyranotts.   To be clear, this correlation has never been proven as causation. Did the envyranotts actually foster her fabulous constitution? Did her impressive health merely allow her to tolerate the nut's tannins better than her surrounding casterways? Was there, in fact, no relationship between her health and the nuts at all? The truth is simply unknown.
 
Side Effects
Cognoscenti have established no verifiable connection between the consumption of raw envyranotts and improved health of any kind. And although Cervia seemed immune to any of the short term effects of envyranott tannins, in her later life she grew to be quite disfigured. It's now accepted as fact that the slow contortion of her torso was the result of decades of tannins accumulating in her muscle fibers, eventually causing her frame to constrict and twist, as is seen in the short term with those suffering from Hag's Thorn poisoning.
 
Fanatics
Of course, this hasn't stopped a small sliver of society across the planet from coveting and consuming raw envyranotts for their putative health benefits. Those who routinely consume raw envyranotts are often viewed as fanatics. And they're referred to as being more-than-a-bit "nutty" themselves. Physicians acknowledge that this practice is mostly harmless, as low-dose exposure has few-if-any serious or long term effects. Unless that exposure is continued across multiple decades. If so, the consumer is definitely at risk of developing the same late-life disfigurement endured by Cervia in her final years.

Basic Information

Anatomy

This bushes is broad with thick, waxy leaves. The leaves are deep green with orange around the edges. Red-or-orange spikes extend from all the leaves. Specimens younger than two years bear no fruit. But after the first two years, it provides a bounty of nuts in the spring and the fall.

Growth Rate & Stages

Under optimal conditions, a seed will germinate in seven days. The seedling will mature to a full-grown bush in two years. After full maturity, it will begin producing envyranotts.

Ecology and Habitats

Although it can live in purely-freshwater environments, it actually thrives on a water supply that is somewhat brackish. This is why it does so well in coastal regions. It does not extend beyond temperate rain forests.

Additional Information

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Found in the temperate rain forests of south Islemanoton and southwest Islegantuan, mostly near the coasts.

Pronunciation En-VEER-uh-bush
Scientific Name
Ligularia spectablis
Lifespan
12 years
Average Height
1.0 - 1.5 meters

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