It looks like a pomegranate and tastes like a cross between an apple and an orange.The temperate forests south of the polar cap are filthy with the bush that grows 'alashaia berries. 'Alashaia derives from a Stenza term meaning something close to "brown/beige delicious", after the fruit's appearance to them (although it would seem bright red to anyone with full color vision), but the Sandibari who introduced their northern neighbors to the fruit had a different word for it altogether (specifically "poisonous"; as a show of strength, some Stenza warriors consumed the berries as a challenge and were shocked to discover no ill effects). Part of the Sandibari/Stenza diplomatic arrangement involved the trade of these berries. Many Sandibari were happy to get rid of them, allowing the Stenza to harvest them in bulk and ship them north for preservation by freezing. 'Alashaia remains a staple food in the Stenza diet, next to Basket Horns.
Genetics and Reproduction
Come late summer, the 'alashaia bushes have begun producing purple flowers, washing most commonly the southern side of the forests in shades between lilac and royal blue. The flowers attract a range of insects as pollinators, although the plant also makes do with passing fauna which graze on the bush's leaves. Once pollinated, the ovules begins to develop into seeds, and carpels develop into fruit tissue around them. The fruits turn dark red as they ripen and, if left undisturbed, tend to fall in mid- to late winter. Seeds contain a poison to protect the embryonic plant, which degrades as the fruit rots and seeds begin to take root. A young 'alashaia plant will not flower until after its first year of life.
Ecology and Habitats
The 'alashaia bush thrives in the colder temperate conditions of the forests south of the north polar cap. It often engages in semi-symbiotic relationships with other bushes and trees which prefer cooler air, gaining shelter from the harsh arctic wind and fixing nutrients in the soil with the help of local bacteria.
'Alashaia is known to flower in late summer and bear its distinctive fruit in winter, which was how it was discovered by the Stenza in the first place.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
'Alashaia typically thrives in the temperate forests near the polar cap, while still warm enough to support diverse plant life. They are constrained by warmer and more volatile weather to the south.