Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Tower Trees

Tower trees are a strange tree species, born from the same fallen star that became the dragon of metal Nisha. They first appeared in the lower level of the the Layered Forest, where in the absence of natural sunlight it photosynthesized off of the many bioluminescent plants native to the underground forest. The most obvious distinguishing feature of tower trees is the shiny coat of iron that covers the trunk and canopy, with the exception of the leaves and fruits. They are also known for being hollow.  

Reactions to Appearance

  At first the Arboran were suspicious of the tower trees and avoided them, but overtime the attitude shifted towards accepting them as part of the forest, especially once there was a generation who did not know the forest without tower trees. The Arboran taboo against taking from the wall of the cavern does not apply to the tower trees, so after getting over their initial distrust of the tower trees, they gained access to iron, and steel by extension. Steel is mainly used for weapons and decoration amongst the Arboran, as they prefer living in hollowed out trees, which have come to include tower trees.   The Xilaman Empire quickly took to the tower trees as a valuable resource, providing both wood and iron. Some of the tower trees are even used as watchtowers. The first tower trees planted in the Xilaman Forest were brought by the druid Tetlacatl, who had traveled to the Layered Forest and met with Nisha in order to acquire the seeds. Thanks to a careful yet swift program of propagation, the tower trees quickly became a part of the Xilaman Forest and even a symbol of the Xilaman Empire.  


  The fruit of a tower tree are called orefruit, which are used to spread the seeds of the tree through endozoochory. Orefruit has a trapezoidal shape, similar to that of an ingot, and a deep black color that contrasts with the shine of the iron branches it hangs from. It is contained within a dark brown shell. When the shell of an orefruit reaches a certain size, it hardens as iron amasses in the shell. Although orefruit itself looks metallic, it is not.   The size of an orefruit can vary greatly, with both smaller and larger ones serving different purposes. Larger orefruit are dropped from the tree onto the ground to increase the range of animals that can digest the seeds. Their hardened, non-edible shell prevents the fruit from being damaged by the fall and breaks on impact. Smaller orefruit on the other hand is preferred by birds and arboreal animals, and have edible shells.
Celestial Origins
  Tower trees and dragons aren't the only things to be born from a falling star. Red dancers, radiant gemstones, and jackalopes were also created from falling stars. Much like the tower trees and Nisha, each of them is associated with a different dragon.
  Most plants native to the underground half of the Layered Forest tend to do poorly in other areas, since they're used to a constant and consistent source of light. Tower trees are a notable exception, somehow they will always turn out perfectly adapted to their environment. This most likely has to do with their celestial origins.  
A New Food
  Orefruit is a good source for all trace metals, making it an excellent choice for a healthy meal. It has an earthy taste.
FROM THE AUTHOR   If you liked this article or have feedback to give, please leave a like or comment. To know when future articles get posted, click the 'Follow World' button at the bottom of the article.

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild


Author's Notes

As always, feedback on the clarity and amount of information is valued. I'd also like to hear what meals you'd try to make with orefruit. If you're wondering what article to read next, here are some suggestions.  

  • Dragon to learn more about the overall change to the world that tower trees were part of.
  • Arboran  or The Layered Forest to learn more about the specific environment and culture tower trees debuted in.
  • Nisha, the dragon born alongside the first tower trees.

Please Login in order to comment!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
2 Apr, 2021 11:32

That's a nice article! Metallic trees are a nice idea, and that sounds useful :D I like how you show the trees on the map!   "Like most plants native to the lower half of the Layered Forest, tower trees rely on the large number and concentration of flora and fauna with bioluminescence to perform photosynthesis." I'm not sure what you mean here. Do other animals and plants have bioluminescence and the trees somehow use that to help with their phostosynthesis?     "The Arboran taboo against taking from the wall of the cavern" I feel that this needs a bit more explanation. What cavern are we talking about here?   Oh! I understand the photosynthesis bit now! They are all in a big cavern in the dark and so there is no sun, so the light the trees use for photosynthesis come from the bioluminescence of other species! Is that correct? I was also confused with "it has proven mysteriously adaptable to climates without a constant source of light." Before but it makes more sense now.   You also say that " At first the Arboran were suspicious of the tower trees and avoided them". I think you could add a small intro at the start of your article explaining that the tree suddenly appeared one day in the place (cavern?) where the Arboran live. Or at least something to clarify that bit at the start and to explain that there is limited sunlight.

22 May, 2021 00:04

Thanks for the detailed feedback. The lower part of the Layered Forest is underground and does indeed have many plants that use the bioluminescence of other plants for photosynthesis. It's a mostly self perpetuating cycle, combined with a bit of natural sunlight from holes in the ground. I'll think about changing the start of the article and overall layout of information for intrigue and clarity.

10 Apr, 2021 14:08

Quite an interesting concept for a tree! That they can be used as a source of metal sounds really useful. Love the name orefruit for the fruit as well :) You say that the plant reproduce by ingestion of animals but does that mean that the enemies that eat it can digest metal or do the fruits only look like metal?

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
16 Apr, 2021 17:43

The fruit is still clearly fruit, looks like I'll need to clarify that with some edits.

13 Apr, 2021 21:37

Oh wicked. Now I want to live in one. Just gotta be wary of lightning, I guess.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
16 Apr, 2021 17:36

Oh yeah, I didn't even think of how it'd interact with lightning. I'm getting some ideas for it now.