It's hard to find good crops out in the near Penumbra. The light is weak, it's cooler than in the illuminated lands, and the people who live out here are leery about spending all day in the open fields. I suppose we could try to breed hardier strains of corn or barley, but honestly, it's just cheaper to import what we need from the agricultural regions. So what do we grow out here? Hemp. It's among the toughest plants I've ever worked with, it can be used to make everything from paper to cloth to rope. It grows fast and tall, even with less light, and it's fairly easy to maintain the fields. What we grow out here is enough for all of our needs, and we have some left over to ship into the illuminated regions; those city-folk have taken to calling it "Penumbral hemp" or "shade-cloth" for some damned reason. Makes no difference to me though, I just mark up the price by a few bars and sell it in the Spire markets... I call it "artisanal", and they buy it in bulk!
Jasper Alverson, hemp farmer, Dusk's Edge village, gateway Lamp to the Brightspire
Hemp plants are tall, lush, and hardy. Their stalks are fibrous and their leaves soft and pliable. Their leaves and flowers sprout from the top third of the plants, leaving the lower two thirds almost completely bare. Most hemp strains are various shades of green, with a few yellow and even purple varieties growing in the Penumbra. There are rare occurrences of hemp growing in the deep Penumbra that exhibit some faint bio-luminescent properties, but domestication and hybridization efforts have met with minimal success.
Genetics and Reproduction
There are dozens of strains of hemp found throughout the illuminated lands, spread across at least four known species of plant. Some efforts have been made to hybridize the various strains and species, with some notable successes such as the Duskeni broadleaf, grown almost exclusively in the Daggerspire Penumbral regions.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Clothing, building materials, rope, medicine, food (seeds are highly nutritious) paper
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Hemp can be found virtually anywhere there is light, decent rainfall, and good drainage. In the illuminated regions, whole swaths of agricultural land have been turned into vast hemp forests, while in the Penumbral regions, hemp is grown in densely-packed plots.
Plants will reach seed maturity after 60-70 days, depending on growing conditions, but are ready for harvest (for fibre) after less than 50 days. The constant sunlight accelerates their growth.
Penumbral strains: 6-10' on average Illuminated strains: 12-14' on average
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