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Rumbo Tree

M T / I AR / A CP - N (ignore this, it´s my custom rating system for materials)

The Rumbo tree, also called the "water giving tree", is s soft wooded tree with an isolating, hard, dry bark reaching around 2m(6.6 ft) of height, with a couple branches before having it´s grow slow down to a crawl. It is has a grey trunk and a few branches that don´t spread far and leaves in an assortment of green ball shaped spiky leaves(think "Joshua tree"). It is capable of storing vast amounts of water content within its roots and trunk, which is also one of the requirements for propagation of the Rumbo tree, as it fruits also have a very high water content.
It´s root system is far reaching, both deep and wide, for the purpose of gathering more water, but also firmly secure itself within the soil, this is especially useful for the specimen that grow deep within the Grukania Desert, were the loose sands and the common sandstorms require strong and deep roots, in addition to its water gathering/storing capabilities. To protect itself from predators its hard bark is further covered in white spines(think "Silk floss tree") and it uses it´s fruits to draw attention away from its water rich trunk. It is a predatory parasitic tree that uses other living fauna to carry and cultivate its seeds

Rumbo tree fruit


These hard, fist sized fruits are unique in their design to spread their seeds, as they are highly pressurized to the point of being capable of exploding. The fruits are of a red color with a stem, similar to an apple, but their skin is tough and thick. They also have a high water content and are safe to eat, carrying a slight sour flavor. The fruits are grown within the protection of the prickly leaves and after reaching maturity the stem is the only part that continues to grow and causes the fruit to emerge from within the leaves dangling down within reach of predators, at this point they also start to give off a sharp scent that reminds of citrus fruits that potentially attracts fauna.
During its growth process the core, the size of a walnut, starts a rotting/fermenting process of its own, the seeds are resistant but the surrounding plant matter starts to rot and gases develop that put the core under high pressure. This pressure is contained by the strong core shell and the surrounding pressure of the pulp, encased in its tough skin. When it explodes the force is great enough to cause the seeds to penetrate skin and even flesh, traveling otherwise a couple meters. These seeds can actually cause slight necrosis through prolonged contact and can use the necrosis to gain nutrients from its victim. The seeds have a high initial grow rate to prevent leaving the host body by way of excretion.

Spreading & Propagation


When a predator starts eating the fruit, there are tree cases that can happen:

    Nibbling

    As the pulp is consumed and the core becomes exposed, the core can hold onto its integrity for quite some while, even after the skin and surrounding fruit flesh are gone, but it is far more prone to external impact in this situation. What actually causes the core to explode is dryness. As the core gets exposed to the air it becomes dry, especially if inside the sweltering desert heat, causing it to become extremely brittle, where it ultimately explodes as it cannot withstand it´s internal pressure. As the explosion takes place near the mouth there is a high chance of seeds penetrating eyes or tissue nearby that instantly or afterwards blinds its victim. A blinded host probably will not survive, succumbing, in the worst case, to the necrosis as it dies a painful death. The seeds can then use the nutrients of a corpse to reach maturity, often the cadaver is also eaten by other carnivores imbibing the seeds and giving them a new host that potentially carries the seed to a better location. Even if a victim is killed immediately the cadaver just rots in front of the tree giving it more nutrients or is eaten by other predators, as mentioned beforehand.

    Swallowing

    In this case the core gets swallowed during the eating process, causing the explosion process to be delayed for some time as the stomach acid keeps the core from drying out, but ultimately the core bursts inside the victim with mostly lethal consequences. Either way if the host dies or survives the following steps are the same as in "nibbling" apart of the host probably having traveled away from the Rumbo tree.
    Breaking

    During the eating process a careless victim might crush the core by biting it or something similar. In this case it explodes in close proximity or even inside the mouth of the victim, causing severe damage that is capable of ripping a hole in the neck, break off teeth or otherwise heavily injure the victim. It is usually very painful and probably lethal, if only by robbing the host of its functioning teeth, tongue, etc.

        These Fruits give off a rotten stench when they explode and are commonly seen in the hot regions Like the Grukania Desert, Kesharin Shrubland, Grand Oasis and the Stalker Savanna on Beregad.
    Most lifeform can not digest Rumbo fruit seeds as they are highly resistant to acids and necrosis.

    Uses and Worth


    Intelligent creatures can use tools to drain some of it´s water away, without harming the tree long term. This water is not suitable for consumption right away, as it can cause severe diarrhea, it has to be boiled beforehand to be made safe for consumption. The fruits, if handled with care and knowledge, are almost of no danger and the fruits are actually quite tasty and healthy because of their high water content. They are very useful trees and therefore respected, so should there be signs of misuse, severe harvesting or sign of destruction, by man or animal, it is actually a case of concern and often immediately investigated. If a tree is found to be waning and unhealthy, warriors often are tasked with hunting some game to be buried beneath the tree, together with some alchemical solutions for ease of consumption, to strengthen the tree.

    The seeds have found themselves being used as a weapon if prepared right and stored correctly, making for dangerous and simple explosive weapons, that may require surgical removal of seeds and additional healing because of necrosis. They have otherwise also found usage as alchemical and medicinal ingredients as they have some rare properties.

    A more grim usage of the Rumbo tree fruits is for ritualistic murder. There are many kinds of death sentences in the culture of the Tribes of the desert most commonly known the "death by thirst" but for many criminals that have not reached that level of hatred the Rumbo tree seeds are used to "let them be useful a last time". The criminals that receive this death sentence are bound and escorted to a defined spot, during this time they are fed well, also called the "fertilizer meal", when they reach the place the criminal is forced to swallow either Rumbo fruit seeds or a whole core, based on the severity of the sentence. Eating a core means in most cases a painful but quick death, while seeds promise long torture. After the death of the criminal the body is buried and some alchemical solutions are used to help the Rumbo tree seeds to grow and absorb the nutrients of the body. In this way the criminal has at least contributed with his death to grow another Rumbo tree and therefore "brought more water to into the desert".

    - Garomalk, Local merchant of Roch
    Ultimately these trees and their fruits are a essential part of Beregads military, culture and economy.

    Ecological Cycle


    During the The long Dark Rumbo trees actually freeze extremely quickly due to their high water content. This freezing is a kind of hibernation that protects the tree and it slowly thaws out over the following days. During this time it uses almost no energy which also helps overcoming the initial timeframe where nature has to normalize itself again and animals are slightly rarer as the long dark has culled the fauna and flora of Latebra.
Lifespan:
Seedling(germination): 1 day
Estimated Lifespan: unknown - all Deaths caused by inability of sustaining size or destruction through third parties

Growth:

Dependent on available nutrition.
Most Rumbo trees are able to sustain only on water, sunlight and normal nutrition taken from the soil.
Carnivorous diet causes additional growth, but remains a secondary unreliable source, though desert specimen seem to be more reliant on it.
Early growth, upon successful germination and necessary water intake seems to be ridiculously accelerated, for a tree, up to 33 cm(13 in) during the first year. Afterwards growth seems to plateau around 9cm(3,5 in), changing based on available nutrition. Later growth spurt have been witnessed that are near their initial growing speed.

Special Properties:
Apart from the obviously rare properties of being partially carnivorous and its highly efficient water storing capabilities, the Rumbo tree is also famous for its insane nutrition conversion capabilities, gaining growth spurts based on available nutrition.

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Comments

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25 Mar, 2021 16:07

This is an interesting plant. I especially like how the seeds can actually be used as an explosive weapon. The death sentence related to the fruit seem quite unpleasant so well done!   My main feedback for improvement would be to split the text a bit into more paragraphs since some are quite long.

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
25 Mar, 2021 19:07

Hello! Congratulations for this submission. You mentioned in the Discord you were not happy with your CSS: do not worry about that! This article is already fairly well structure. If I were to give you a structural/visual advice, i'd suggest you add one picture or two, if you can: these can help keeping the reader focused on the article.   Regarding the content, I found the idea of a "carnivorous" tree novel and interesting! I do have a remark, though. If the eating of fruits usually kills predators, it seems likely that over time (through cultural or biological evolution), animals would learn to avoid the fruit: the fresh citrus scent would even become a repellent from the fruit, wouldn't it? Of course, if surrounding plants use similarly tasty fruits for seed dispersal and don't explode, animals would take more time to adapt and avoid eating that tree in particular.   Similarly, If I understand correctly, the fruits often explodes while dangling from their parent tree: this would be a problem for seed dispersal! Unless of course the fruit actually explodes more often after being eaten. Another solution would be that the tree doesn't have a very long lifespan, so it doesn't shade too much on its children.   In any case, good job!

With love,   Pouaseuille.   I finally participated to The Costume Challenge: here's an entry if you like!
10 Apr, 2021 22:08

Hi Tyorel! I quite like your article - the focus on the behaviour of the tree's fruit/seeds really assist its memorability. I would suggest dividing up your text between paragraphs a bit better. Also, if you move everything from "Spreading and Propagation" onward into the "full width footer" section instead of using the template specific prompts (you'll have to make your own headings), your text will use the space beneath the sidebar. If you make this change, you may be able to make your Nibling/Swallowing/Breaking into three columns, or make Nibling column one and Swallowing/Breaking into column two. Just try to keep your columns the same height. Also you wrote "tree" instead of "three" as the lead in for that section btw. Regardless of my suggestions, great creation - keep it up!

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
11 Apr, 2021 11:26

Handy tree for any desert-dwellers; I can see why it is so essential to the Beregads.   My favorite part is definitely how you've peppered in context and culture cues into the article, like how they reacty to people damaging the tree, or hunters burying animals at the tree to help it. The grim use of it as an execution is another great bit of context lore like that - sounds exactly like what we'd do at some point or another.   Really intersting and the rotten stench made me think of Durian - are there similar aspects at play there? I know it's illegal to bring durian onto buses for instance.     Great stuff :D

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
13 Apr, 2021 12:45

Nice article! I love the way you've designed the fruit to explode because of the fermentation gas :D And the way the seeds can be projected to penetrate inside the host or just explode the host's body :p   Here are a few notes I wrote while reading:   When you say things like "think Joshua tree", it would be useful if you could find a stock photo of that tree to go with it to help with the comparison.   Is the bark of the tree hard enough to protect it from the fruits exploding nearby and projecting their seeds? Or is the explosion not that powerful but dangerous because it's so close to the hosts' face?   Like someone's else has commented, I would think that animals would have learnt to recognise the fruits as dangerous, but having them look similar to other kind of fruits might be a good idea to explain why they keep coming back.   " it has to be boiled beforehand to be made safe for consumption." Is it because of bacteria/parasites? Or is the boiling to denature some of the proteins of the tree so that they don't cause problem?   " The seeds have found themselves being used as a weapon if prepared right and stored correctly, making for dangerous and simple explosive weapons," this is a great idea! However, I may not have understood properly. Here is it the whole fruit that is stored? Because otherwise I thought that the "core" of the fruit is not really separated from the rest of the tree (like with an apple for example). Would it in fact have a layer surrounding it to keep its content contained? And that would be the whole layer that would be preserved by people?   The use of seeds as weapons and the punishment of criminals with the tree is very cool XD   "During the The long Dark Rumbo trees actually freeze extremely quickly due to their high water content." One thing you can add here is that the tree produce antifreeze protein to help them survive the process.

16 Apr, 2021 20:47

Oooh, that's a nifty and morbid way of spreading. Definitely weaponizable, yes! Or having disposable people carefully shave the flesh off one, if they boom, nothing of value lost, right? *turns off evil mode*

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young