Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Grengu: Smell-Plants

Basic Information


The grengu's most noticeable part of is the viscous sap that covers the plant. It evaporates into the air, giving off a foul smell. On the top is a particularly small flower, which dispenses seeds. Its leaves are flat and broad, and its roots spread both wide and deep, snapping off easily from the stem.

Genetics and Reproduction

Grengu's seeds, like the plant itself, is covered in sap. Once germination is complete, it is carried in the wind until it either lands on the ground or sticks to a plant. If the seed is unlucky enough to stick to a grengu, the seed is decomposed, and its genetic information is incorporated into the host grengu's next wave of seeds. If a seed is stuck to grass, the grass absorbs the sap around the seed but not the seed itself. The grengu seed is genetically programmed to take root once the sap around it is gone, and so the seed grows over the blade of grass, eventually making connection with the ground and establishing its own turf. If the seed lands on the ground, it waits for the next rain to wash away the surrounding sap before it takes root.

Dietary Needs and Habits

The chlorophyll of plants requires light from the sun for its chemical functions. Because the grengu's natural sap is so heavily opaque, the plant looks to the soil and rhizobia-like bacteria for supplemental energy. Grengus are thus less dependent on sunlight than all other plants outside Retrougo and Unterritory. As a consequence, though, grengu suck the nutrients out of the surrounding soil, making it inhospitable for plants within one international cubit of the base.

Additional Information


The odor that comes from grengu sap is extremely unnerving to anyone and anything with a functional nose; it can only be tolerated because of the sweet smells of its symbiote. However, this didn't stop certain entrepreneurs from trying their hand at growing grengu.
After the first recorded case, the combined scent was so pungent that an entire village had to be evacuated. Two people are said to have died before the village could fully evacuate. However, even if the tale was true, a nasty respiratory disease had ravaged that part of Wlitowa some years prior. From the shoddy diagnoses of the day, the losses could be explained equally by the toxic smell or the disease, and it's nearly impossible to tell which today. Before the populace could return, the farmer (with a cohort of Wlitowan soldiers) waited for a blustering wind to push the scent away. They approached the crop from upwind and set it ablaze.
The second attempt was smart enough to surround the crop with a patch of grass, but another discovery was made. The grengu requires a massive amount of nutrients from the soil to produce its sap and to grow. In the wild, grasses kept their distance from the grengu and enjoyed the benefits of the grengu's sap scent from afar. In dense quantities, though, grengu crops collectively drained the soil faster than they could mature or reproduce. Their roots intertwined and even dug into each other, until there were too few healthy specimens left to consider a crop. This was the last original attempt; while many variants would later follow, they invariably resulted in either the first or the second outcomes.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

When its sap is washed off, boiled grengu produces a green dye that requires no mordant to affix to plant-based cloth. Unlike the sap it produces, the grengu's stem and leaves are odorless, oddly making it leaps and bounds above the stale urine that passes for mordant with regards to other dyes, such as those for red and yellow.
Historically, green was a rare dye. While there were alternatives, grengu was easier to work. To compound advantages, because the plant was so foul-smelling, the Wlitowan royalty wanted it gone and, in an uncharacteristic display, made no regulations as to its export. However, because grengu failed to domesticate, it was hard to collect. As a result, the production of green was channeled down a very narrow supply line. Industry found it much easier to mix blue mordant dyes and yellow mordant dyes than to produce grengu green or green alternatives.
However, the Promoter culture, ashamed of all things human and so of human urine as a mordant, eagerly jumped at the opportunity to use grengu as a fashionable dye. Promoters were too few in number to fit grengu dyes for mass production, but they did make grengu foraging a lucrative yet sustainable venture.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Grengu flood the plains of Wlitowa, surrounding themselves amongst the billions of grass specimens. Similar grasses occupy Western Tuhra, and grengu are found in much fewer densities the further east one goes. Because of their staunch resistance to domestication, grengu were introduced to the wilds of Retrougo, Unterritory, and even Keyrit. However, the native species were both more numerous and more aggressive, and the invasive species failed in its invasion.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Grengu have no central nervous system and so no intelligence to speak of, but it can detect concentrations of sap particles in the air. If there are noticeably higher quantities of sap particles than what it normally produces, other specimens are invariably nearby. It uses this information for its reproduction and expansion mechanisms.

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

The grengu's sap, foul smelling as it is, provides a great many nutrients for plants. The grasses of the Wlitowa Yagraer absorb the sap molecules that populate the air and absorb it through its leaves. Oddly enough, the products of the grasses' internal digestion smell sweet. Because the sweeter chemicals diffuse more widely, the entire field smells wonderful, in a wholesome, nonaddictive fashion, with small pockets of odor scattered throughout. For years, no one knew about the symbiosis and so didn't know that the grengu was the source of the sweet smell.
One year, by order of the king at the time, the entire field around the royal summer palace was stripped of grengus. By the time winter came, the sweet smell had been completely eradicated, and almost half of the grass had browned and withered away. It was only after the king's death that the property caretaker reintroduced the grengu to the area, much to the delight of the royal children.
Conservation Status
Were it not for its monetary potential, the grengu would be considered little more than a common weed in its native habitat of Wlitowa. Grengu are less common further west in Tuhra but are still alive and strong. They were introduced as invasive species in Wouraiya's northern continents, but the flora there were more numerous and even more aggressive than the grengu. Without proper symbiosis, the grengu maintain sparse populations along the coastlines of the two continents, one bad day away from total extinction. Nearby civilizations don't have enough support, resources, or interest to grow the industry that grengu provides, and so nothing is being done to preserve the species so far north.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Most plants of the grengu's size and shape are green with chlorophyll. However, a dark, translucent, odorous orange sap covers the entire grengu in a plum color. Oddly enough, the one plant that can provide green dye is the one plant whose leaves aren't mostly green. If the sap is cut with a knife, and the plant is exposed, the leaves' green tint is clearly visible. Often one can see the grengu's tussles with local fauna because of the green marks left behind.
Related Ethnicities

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild


Please Login in order to comment!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
9 Apr, 2021 08:52

Nice plant! I like how you've managed to prevent anyone from cultivating it with its bad smell despite how useful it is :D The anecdotes about the previous attempts were fun :)   Here are a few notes I took while reading:   " It covers itself in a dark orange sap, so, while it does collect sunlight through the chlorophyll in its leaves, it is much more dependent on the soil for nutrients and rhizobia-like bacteria for additional energy." I'm not too sure about the link between the sap and the rest of the sentence.   " This means that rival plants, even symbiotic plants, give the grengu a wide berth, as the grengu would starve any plant that comes close to it." You mean because it absorbs all the nutrients in the ground and so there is nothing left for the other plants? I think it needs to be stated more directly at this point.   " However, even if the tale was true, a nasty respiratory disease had ravaged that part of Wlitowa some years prior." You need to a more e the link between the sentence and the rest of the text. Do you mean that the people overreacted? That there was a problem in calculated the number of deaths? That maybe the diseases made the effect of the smell worse?   "Grasses willingly offered its soil space in exchange for the sap" How does this work? Do the grengu let the sap drop to the ground to feed the grass? Does the grass grow directly on the gengu on top of the sap? – ah never mind, you explain that at the end.   "but other grengu plants jockeyed each other for control of a relatively small portion of nutrients." Are those plants sentient? It feels like it the way you've formulated that.   I think you could use quotes in a couple of space to bring life to the anecdotes, like with the royal garden at the end or with the attempts to cultivate your plant.   How does the plant reproduce if it's so sparce?

Benjamin B
10 Apr, 2021 03:01

Thanks for responding! I have made proper embellishments and editions which should hopefully answer your questions! I hope you find the improved grengru to your liking!

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
10 Apr, 2021 08:51

It does, thanks! I love the new version of the article :D

10 Apr, 2021 15:33

Interesting concept for a plant. I like how that its smell is quite annoying to cultivate it but they do it anyway because it is easier than the alternatives :p The symbiotic relationship was a nice addition as well, especially since it causes a nice smell for a change xp

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
15 Apr, 2021 22:51

Stinkgrass! Definitely want to avoid this when the wind is wrong. XD

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