Wright’s Wandering Wisteria
A curious species of plant discovered in the depths of the Yalthar Jungle, Wright’s Wandering Wisteria is a mobile plant that whilst it looks mostly harmless can be deadly to the unwary traveller. The plant is named after a certain Reginald Wright, a well regarded member of the Imperial School of Botany & Agriculture, who first officially recorded the species in 431AIF, and who was last seen approaching a spawning group of Wright’s Wandering Wisterias in the depths of the Ascar Giss in 449AIF. In honour of the botanist’s sacrifice in search of knowledge, the Faculty of the Imperial School of Botany & Agriculture voted to name the species after its discoverer.
Wright’s Wandering Wisterias are similar in form to other types of Wisterias. There physical form is a mass of long, tendril like roots, that frequently wrap around one another to form thicker appendages that are connected to a shrub like body with long, feather like deep green leaves. When they flower, the shrub like main body has long, thick stem protruding from it, with collections of small purple flowers running up and down the entire length. The plants use their long root tendrils to drag themselves through their forest homes, and they can also be used to scale obstacles and even climb trees in search of food. In general they will tend to move very slowly, but if the plant is looking to ambush prey the root tendrils are capable of moving with incredible speed in short, interspersed bouts.
Genetics and Reproduction
Wright’s Wandering Wisterias, like most other plants have to be pollinated in order to reproduce, but they cannot pollinate themselves. Instead, they gather at specific times of the year in large groups for what is referred to as a spawning event. At these spawning events the assembled plants will release pollen en-masse, which then pollinates that flowers of the plants around them, and leads to the flowers developing into the tuber like seedpods. It is unknown what prompts the plants to gather, or how they know where to gather, but without fail hundreds of Wright’s Wandering Wisterias emerge from the jungle to spawn whenever a spawning event is happening.
Growth Rate & Stages
Following a spawning event, the plants will disperse and they will begin to develop large potato like growths where their pollinated flowers once stood. These growths, which are the plants’ seed pods will fall off of their own volition once they have reached maturity, primarily because they will have become so heavy that the plant will no longer be able to support their weight and they will snap off. These pods have evolved to be appealing to other creatures to eat, primarily so that the seeds of Wright’s Wandering Wisteria can be spread far and wide. Once a seed has been excreted, it can germinate in as little as 24 hours, after which a seedling plant will emerge and generally takes about two weeks to reach the stage where it is defined as a ‘young plant’. Young plants have all of the physical characteristics of adult plants, though they are smaller in size, but they are not mobile, and instead remain rooted in the ground. Once they have reached maturity at about a year old, they will uproot themselves and will start to wander in search of rotting matter to feed on.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Seedling and young Wright’s Wandering Wisterias survive on sunlight and the water and nutrients that they can absorb from the soil, as with the vast majority of other plants. However, adult plants instead feed on rotting matter of any sort. An adult Wright’s Wandering Wisteria will travel until they find a body of rotting material, this could be a fallen tree, a collection of rotting leaves or the corpse of a animal and once they have arrived, the plant will wrap its roots around the object and secrete an enzyme that helps to break down the food source into a liquid consistency that can be easily absorbed by the plant. It is believed that the thick tree canopies of their jungle homes, which results in a general lack of light at ground level, led to the plant developing its unique feeding habits. Though they are mostly classed as being carrion feeders, the plants have also been observed to be very capable of ensnaring passing creatures in their roots and grappling them so that they cannot escape, after which they will begin to secrete their feeding enzyme and will literally dissolve and eat their prey alive. This behaviour is thought to take place only when there are large amounts of the plants within a certain area and the food supply is strained, but then again Reginald Wright their discoverer went missing whilst string to prove this very point….
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Since their discovery a variety of uses for Wright’s Wandering Wisterias have been found by members of the Imperial School of Botany & Agriculture. The enzyme that they excrete from their roots has become highly valued as a powerful solvent, which is much in demand for Arcanological and Industrial needs. In addition, the seed pods produced by the plant can be collected and eaten and is said to have a similar taste, texture and nutritional qualities of potatoes and are regarded as a stable food source of the Yaltharmian peoples who reside in the Yalthar Jungle.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Wright’s Wandering Wisteria is a tropical plant that needs humid, forested climates to survive. As adult plants feed on rotting vegetal and fleshy matter, they thrive in warm, damp environments where the process of decay is accelerated. Though they can live in areas with lower temperatures, they are predominantly found in the Yalthar Jungle in Greltor Province and the Kal’Panar Jungle in Bar-Sunar Province.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Uniquely amongst plants, Wright’s Wandering Wisterias have a limited sense of smell that they use to identify the smell of rotting plant or animal matter that they feed on, which can draw an individual plant to a location from several miles away. Though it has not been conclusively proved, anecdotal evidence from research groups dispatched to the Yalthar and Kal’Panar jungles also suggests that the plants have learned to identify the smell of blood as well, which can draw them to an injured animal or humanoid from miles around.
Unknown in the wild. Specimens in captivity have been observed to live for over twenty years.
Whilst an exact qualification of their numbers has not been established, Wright’s Wandering Wisterias have been spotted regularly enough and in large enough numbers during spawning events that they are not considered to be endangered.
Between 6-13ft (c.2-4m)