Glass does not make for a very appetizing salad.Agriculture has been vital for civilisation throughout human history, and remains just as important after the shattering of the world. The growth domesticated crops has always been fraught with some uncertainty, as drought, unseasonable frost, pests, and disease have always threatened farmers' fields. With the shattering of the world, a new threat to foliage has reaered its ugly head in the form of volcanic ash storms and the Vitreous Blight they bring with them. After an ash storm has left dust and ash on the ground, subsequent rains will leach minerals out of the settled volcanic material and into the soil, where they are taken up by the root systems of the local flora. Occasionally, these absorbed minerals will have a severe and deleterious effect on the plants in the form of slow and irreversible vitrification of structual plant tissues. The plasma inside an afflicted plant's cells begin to crystallize into an amorphous glass, destroying or otherwise forcing out the internal cell structures responsible for keeping the cells alive. While the gradual death of cells in a plant's leaves is rarely fatal on its own, the vitrification and blockage of vital phloem and xylem in the stems is much more serious and can lead to the swift withering and death of the plant. The vitrification of plant tissue is a slow process, causing the visible symptoms of Blight to manifest itself gradually. It can take from three days up to a month for symptoms to appear, depending on the species afflicted. It typically appears as clear, transparent spots on the leaves and stems that catch the light and have an appropriately glassy lustre. Vitreous Blight occuring within a plant's root systems or within the cambium of woody plants can often remain completely undetected until the plant suddenly begins to wither and die. Vitreous Blight is a serious threat to farmers, as any crop may potentially become afflicted after an ash storm. Care must be taken when eating fruits and vegetables grown during or after an ash storm, as there is a risk of fragments of glass being included in the otherwise edible tissues. For some reason currently unknown to science, minerals leached from ash into drinking water seems to not have the same vitrifying effect on animals, but will rapidly coat kettles and boiler tubes in hard mineral scale in the same manner as hard lime water.
Notable Blights through history