Chromatic Palms are best known for their multicolored flowers during the spring and their sweet, watery purple fruits. They are native to the plane of Rol'nara and have become an integral part of the Rol'nara culture with their palms, fruits, and stems each contributing materials for building, weaving, and dyeing. It is a perennial tree, dying down to the roots after the fruit ripens but returning each year. It thrives best in tropical environments, although it can be grown as an annual in temperate zones with warmer summers.
At the beginning of the growing season the Chromatic Palm will grow a tall, straight stem topped with palms. Once it reaches its full height the tree will sprout vines from the base of its palm fronds, each no more than one third the height of the tree, and the vines will develop multicolored flowers on nodes along their full length. After the flowers fade each node will begin to produce hard, rounded green nodules which will gradually grow and ripen into a blue outer shell about the size of a large fist. Once the fruit ripens the palm will begin to die down to its roots, which will hibernate until the next growing season.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
The Rol'nara have learned to use each part of the Chromatic Palm for different purposes. The palm branches with leaves intact are used as thatching for houses, or the fibers can be extracted and used to manufacture rope, hats, and rough textiles. The fruits of the tree may be used to produce a deep purple dye if harvested while the outer shells are still green. One the outer shell ripens to blue the sweet purple watery fruit inside may safely be eaten if harvested before the tree itself begins to die. The trunk can be used to manufacture a green dye if harvested just as it begins to brown. The trees also produce a sweet syrupy sap that can be harvested for the manufacture of drinks. This requires cutting into the tree near the top and collecting the sap in lightweight buckets tapped to the tree. This process kills the tree, although its roots will still remain viable to regrow next season provided the sap is harvested after the tree has finished flowering and is beginning to grow fruit.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
The Chromatic Palm is indigenous to the tropical climates of Rol'na. It is frequently imported into Fillimet, generally for decorative use.
- Scientific Name
- Raphia chromata
- Conservation Status
- Least Concern
- Average Height
- 30 to 35 feet