Qiao'hon

The Sweet Gold of Southern Tolara

When we, the Timber elves first came to delta, we were led to the tree by Tarsellis himself ... It was known to us by its rich purple, which made clear that it was his gift and blessing to us. And on this, we built our greatest city to honor him
Timber Elf telling the story of how they came to the Nang Kap'ahu Delta
  One of many discoveries made by Yen Tae-Hyun during her team's multi-year exploration of Tolara's southern peninsula, the Qiao'hon has become a valuable fruit for the people of the Nang Kap'ahu Delta and Ajda-Donesh Basin, and its surrounding areas. Despite its popularity and high value, however, the fruit is hard to obtain outside of its native range; Qiao'hon can only be picked once ripe, the soft fruit does not transport well, and cultivation outside of the southern peninsula has proven unsuccessful.

Description

  The Qiao'hon tree, unlike many others in the Ajda-Donesh Basin and Nang Kap'ahu Delta, is short- averaging between 15 to 20 ft (49 to 65 m) tall. Though like the surrounding trees, it has a wide canopy that spreads out to garner as much sunlight as possible in the dense undercanopy of its native region. The leaves of this canopy are thick and waxy, almost like that of a succulent, and retain water well- a necessary adaptation as their fruit required a lot of water to grow.   Its small trunk, which averages between 5 and 8 ft (4.5 to 06 m) in diameter, is covered in a thick layer of bark. This can be peeled back to expose a softer underbark without damaging the tree. During the dry season, however, this bark becomes covered in thick pustules which eventually form into its signature fruit in the late cold season.   Before producing fruit, during heavy periods of rain, the Qiao'hon produces hundreds of tiny, waxy petaled flowers often called Qia Blossoms. These range from white, to light pink, to a deep purple in color, sometimes on the same tree. Since the fruit does not grow from these flowers, however, Archivists are baffled as to why the Qiao'hon flowers at all.   Still, these flowers give off a lovely floral aroma during bloom, enticing numerous bugs to the trees. As a result, Archivists theorize the flowers are produced solely as a food source for the region's insects- a theory considered to hold significant weight since several species (such as the Hao'yin Butterfly and Ila'vis Beetle) rely on the flowers as their only food source.
Type
Fruiting Tree   Domestication
None   Lifespan
100 years   Average Height
15 to 20 ft
4.5 to 06 m   Average Canopy
20 to 30 ft
06 to 09 m   Average Trunk
5 to 8 ft
1.5 to 2.5 m   Average Yield
300 fruit

Fruit

 
The fruit produced by the Qiao'hon is small and orb-like with a pointed lower tip- similar in shape to a macadamia nut but roughly the size of one's palm, and covered in a thick outer skin that looks much like snake scales. This skin is prickly and sharp, and can easily cut the hands of one who harvest the fruit carelessly and without the proper attention; it's not uncommon for those who harvest Qiao'hon to come back with palms and arms covered in abrasions.   Thankfully it is easy to tell when the fruit of the Qiao'hon is ripe. On the tree, the fruit remains an almost sickly green yellow color throughout its development. Just before ripening, however, the fruit turns brown- followed by a deep purple before falling off the tree on its own; while the fruit is safe to eat when brown and is often picked this way during harvest, it's the purple fruit that falls off the tree which has the better flavor.   Inside the Qiao'hon fruit are 12 to 14 sections surrounded by a spongy white flesh. Each of these pockets contains a large black seed surrounded in a jelly like substance colored a deep orange and blood red. Both the spongy white flesh and jelly like seed cover can be consumed raw or cooked, while the seeds are toxic and cannot be eaten.   Those who have eaten it describe the spongy interior as being creamy and almost vanilla flavored- while the jelly has a tart and citrusy flavor. Despite being nutrient dense and having a high water content, however, the jelly is oily in texture and stains hands, fingers, and clothes easily- leading some people to have an aversion to that part of the fruit.  

Uses

  Qiao'hon is highly prized among those who live in the Ajda-Donesh Basin and Nang Kap'ahu Delta for a number of reasons. One of those, is how many things the tree can truly provide for those living within its native range. These uses span from the basic nutritional, to the rare spiritual. And although the fruit is difficult (if not impossible) to export to other regions, the Qiao'hon tree still has some export value in other ways- providing a much needed source of income for those residing within southern peninsula of Tolara.  
▼ Food ▼
The fruit of the Qiao'hon tree is one of its best offerings; high in nutrients, it's an integral food source for native species to the region- as well as settlers there, and can be consumes at almost any stage. Qia blossoms can also be used to make tea, and the leaves can be consumed for their water during the dry seasons.
 
▼ Stimulant ▼
In low doses Qiao'hon's tough outer bark has a stimulating effect. Flattened and tenderized, or shredded, it's frequently used as a chew for soldiers, scouts, caravaners, and other individuals who are often required to stay awake for long periods of time.
 
▼ Pain Relief ▼
Qiao'hon's outer bark also has numbing properties- something noted by those who use the bark orally. For that reason it's commonly used as a pain reliever and numbing agent for those with skin wounds, toothaches, sore throats, and other minor ailments.
▼ Perfume ▼
The tree's Qia blossoms have a distinct, soft floral aroma with dry, woody undertones and a hint of citrus. While soft on the nose, however, the aroma is strong- and the flowers' oil may last for days. For that reason it's commonly distilled into body and bath oils, and perfumes. These can then be exported for much needed income.
 
▼ Recreation ▼
In high doses Qiao'hon's outer bark can be used as a drug, causing feelings of euphoria. Overdosing, however, can cause hallucinations- especially in those who are sensitive to its effects. For that reason it's used more in ritual practices, though some people may use it recreationally.
 
▼ Ritual ▼
Its hallucinogenic and euphoric properties have found ritual use among the Orkind of the Hiatal Mountains- who believe it allows them to see into the Ethereal and Liminal planes. As a result, it has become an integral part of their cultural practices surrounding Ancestor Veneration.
 
To make Hastra'i as the Timber Elves of western Nang Kap'ahu do: In a mortar combine 4 handfuls Qiao'hon jelly from 8 fruits, a spoon full of the sponge, a handful of marsh sugar, and a pinch of Qiao'hon bark... Pulverize and add to a glass blown pitcher... Fill with fresh Da Hong Pao tea, stir, and allow to set for two days before drinking; serve with a salad of fresh watercress and Hau Sa during the dry season for quick rejuvenation.
The Foods of Nang Kap'ahu





Comments

Author's Notes

▼ Please Read Before You Comment ▼
I absolutely love getting feedback on my setting and its worldbuilding. I love it even more when people poke and prod at it, and ask questions about the things I've built within it. I want both. I actively encourage both. And it makes me incredibly giddy whenever I get either. However, there's a time and a place for critique in particular- mostly when I've actually asked for it (which usually happens in World Anvil's discord server). And when I do ask for critique, there are two major things I politely request that you do not include in your commentary:   ➤ The first is any sort of critique on the way I've chosen to organize or format something; Saleh'Alire is not a narrative world written for reader enjoyment... It's is a living campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons. To that end, it's written and organized for my players and I, specifically for ease of use during gameplay- and our organization needs are sometimes very different than others'. They are especially diferent, often-times, from how things "should be organized" for reader enjoyment.   ➤ Secondly, is any critique about sentence phrasing and structure, word choice, and so on; unless you've specifically found a typo, or you know for a provable fact I've blatantly misued a word, or something is legitimately unclear explicitly because I've worded it too strangely? Then respectfully: Don't comment on it; as a native English speaker of the SAE dialect, language critique in particular will almost always be unwelcome unless it's absolutely necessary. This is especially true if English is not you first language to begin with. My native dialect is criticized enough as it is for being "wrong", even by fellow native English speakers ... I really don't want to deal with the additional linguistic elitism of "formal english" from Second-Language speakers (no offense intended).   That being said: If you want to ask questions, speculate, or just ramble? Go for it! I love talking about my setting and I'm always happy to answer any questions you have, or entertain any thoughts about it. Praise, of course, is always welcome too (even if it's just a casual "this is great", it still means a lot to authors)- and if you love it, please don't forget to actually show that love by liking it and sharing it around. Because I genuinely do enjoy watching people explore and interact with my setting, and ask questions about it, and I'd definitely love to hear from you... Just be respectful about it, yeah?


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8 Aug, 2022 06:10

What a complete article! You really went deep into the details of the tree and the fruit, I love it! The way you use spoilers and the overall layout of your articles is amazing too! A real inspiration when crafting materials. There's just one thing buzzing me with the conversion from ft to m: did you mean centimetres instead of metres or am I just confused? Anyway, great job with the Qiao'hon!

I gathered some awesome articles in my Reading Challenge, want to take a look? There's also a Reading Challenge Big List combining all mentions of authors for the challenge, maybe you're in there too!
8 Aug, 2022 23:22

Hm. You know, I double checked the calculations and I'm not entirely sure what that was meat to be, there; this is an old repost from a backup, and is about 2 years old or more now, ha. I've corrected it TO meters, now, however. Thanks for that!   Glad you loved it! You might check out Milonan Silk, then- or some of my fauna, too! I've done 3 so far: The Oelot, Stoagan, and Bahar ... Or if you like constructs, there's the Archival Spirit (which I personally adore).

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