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 AppearanceAt 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.
OrefruitThe 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 OriginsTower 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.
AdaptabilityMost 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 FoodOrefruit is a good source for all trace metals, making it an excellent choice for a healthy meal. It has an earthy taste.
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