pipe tree Species in The River | World Anvil
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pipe tree

Easily the most widely-used plant known to women is pipe tree, a type of grass with a rigid stem that can grow to enormous heights.  Although they call it a tree because of its height and stiffness, it is all skin and no flesh and therefore not considered an ancestor tree, making it permissible for women to cut it while it is live.

Basic Information

Growth Rate & Stages

In a good rainy season a pipe tree shoot can grows rapidly.  By the end of its first season the stalk is at its full height, although it is still soft.  Pipe tree harvested at this stage is pliable, good for such things as basket rims and thatching framework for houses.  After another two seasons the pipe is rigid enough to be harvested for its strength.   Although each pipe tree appears to be a separate plant, the stand itself is a single organism. Shoots grow up from roots rather than seed, and each stalk lives for several growing seasons before it becomes brittle with age, but the stand as a whole has a lifespan many times longer than any individual stalk. At the end of its life, all pipe trees in the stand release flowers at the same time. After producing seeds, all stalks decay no matter how old they are. A woman may see a stand of pipe tree go to seed once or twice in her lifetime.

Additional Information


As extensively as women use pipe tree, it is not domesticated. In fact it is aggressively removed from inside the farming radius because it competes with their agricultural trees for soil. Instead, women tend stands of pipe tree that grow naturally within the village's foraging radius.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Pipe tree is used for almost everything.
  • The widest varieties are cut in sections and used as containers.
  • Pipe tree of all diameters is used in constructing the framework for a house and its furnishings.
  • Splinters of pipe tree are sharpened for needles and hunting darts.
  • Many kinds of toys are mde of pipe tree; one favorite is a stick sliced in half lengthwise that makes hollow tones when hit against hard surfaces.
  • Pipe tree sprouts are enjoyed as food, but are not a major part of women's diet. Sprouts are harvested mostly in the farm zone to prevent pipe tree stands from establishing themselves there.
The versatility of pipe tree makes it a vital raw material even where it is not as naturally abundant.  During the dry traveling season, boy packs can be called on to carry hundreds of pipe tree sticks to villages that need them, in exchange for shelter during the rainy season.
Scientific Name
Bamboo. It's bamboo.
Geographic Distribution

View from the future

12,000 years, The Ocean
Pipe tree is still a staple of building, clothing, crafting, cooking, and play everywhere in the vastland and islands.

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Aug 11, 2023 01:01 by Deleyna Marr

I'm really looking forward to reading more of your world in the future. Just fascinating how they draw their ancestry from the trees.

Aug 11, 2023 06:33

Thank you! It's a linguistic misunderstanding that will get cleared up eventually, but in the meantime I'm having fun exploring the implications.

From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.
Aug 21, 2023 19:39 by Deleyna Marr

And that makes it even more interesting!