The Viper-Weed is a rare but precious plant. While the unknowing would consider it a nuisance or even a monster, those who work in potions and salves know it for what it really is, a treasure trove of ingredients.
Although only having been recently discovered by the humans of Haelia, the Hemo-weed has been used by the residence of Sotin for centuries in all manner of way. From its roots to its teeth this semi-sapient plant can be used in the creation from anything from potions to trinkets.
Anatomy & Morphology
The Viper-Weed has a number of tendrils (roughly 4-7), with each being tipped with a small hooked thorn that secretes a rather potent poison which paralysis its victims. This allows its large mouth to consume its prey with minimal risk. The most notable feature however are the large fluid filled sacs that grow along its main stem. These sacs are filled with a potent reagent which is essential in creating healing potions.
Genetics and Reproduction
The Viper-Weed like many plants reproduces via seeding. This occurs at the very beginning of the colder months, and is started by the releasing of a pheromone which attracts near by creature and puts them to sleep. Once the creature has been devoured and digested the Viper-Weed releases a large number of small red berries (anywhere from 50-200 depending on the size of the plant) which are launched up and away from the parent plant. These berries then grow into small bushes that sprout small red flowers. These will then be eaten by passing wildlife such as deer. Once inside a host the flower quickly begins to grow until it is about the size of a fist, at which point it releases a deadly toxin that kills its host. The new Viper-Weed then grow out of its host corpse devouring it in the process. This whole process can take anywhere between 2 weeks and a month the complete. From this point the new Viper-Weed will continue to grow as it catches more prey.
Growth Rate & Stages
The Viper-Weeds growth is based on one factor, how much it can eat. The more it eats the faster it grows. Particularly energetic Viper-Weeds can grow up to a foot a week as long a steady supply of prey is available.
Once a Viper-Weed grows to about 5 feet it enters its adult phase, where it will begin to reproduce and start growing its first fluid sacs. There total growth rate also decreases during this period. Finally after about 10-13 years of being in the adult phase the Viper-Weed stops growing completely and its main stem begins to wilt over the course of a few months, however the plant does not die instead a new stem rapidly grows from the base of the plant, and the cycle continues, with each successive plant growing larger and larger.
Ecology and Habitats
Viper-Weeds are devious creatures and use their environment to lure in prey. The area that surrounds them is often devoid of trees and will have a number of smaller plants which bear exotic fruits. This along with the pleasant smell the plant emits helps it to draw in prey. Viper-Weeds also like to keep themselves shaded and do not fair well in direct sunlight as it severely damages its fluid sacs.
Dietary Needs and Habits
The Viper-Weed is carnivorous and as such hunts other animals, often grazing animals like deer, however they are known to attack humans when prey is scarce or the temperature rises too much (however it is unknown why this causes them to act this way). When prey is subdued by its tendrils, the Viper-Weed begins to consume. It first places its prey in its maw, after which it seals and begins to fill with an acidic substance where in it begins to digest its food. This nutrients is then stored in numerous fluid sacs.
The Viper-Weeds are not affected by the seasons like other plants, in that they do not shed leaves of wilt. However they do hibernate after their early seeding, this is in order to prevent the parent plant from pruning away its offspring before they can be eaten. Along with this during the height of summer it can be observed that the Viper-Weeds will become highly aggressive often attacking more intelligent prey such as humans.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
The Viper-Weed is used in numerous ways, with each part of the plant having a use:
- Fluid Sacs - Used in healing potions
- Acid glands - A useful ingredient in many potions
- Stem flesh - When composted down it creates excellent fertilizer
- Roots - when smoked causes a psychedelic affect
- Thorns - A powerful painkiller
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Viper-Weed is only found in the forest of Jalure with soil needing to be imported in when cultivated outside the forest.
The Viper-Weed is able to judge the strength of prey before it attacks and will only go for food that i believes it can eat. It is unable to communicate or understand language an only acts on its hunger.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
While the Viper-Weed has no eyes it in in no way blind. It can sense the presence of prey via a network of roots that weave through the ground surrounding it. This along with its ability to smell using its tendril makes the Viper-Weed completely aware of its surrounding.
- ~15 year cycle
- Average Height
- 7+ feet (older plants can exceed this)
- Average Weight
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