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This colorful butterfly-shaped plant drifts slowly through wildspace, much to the delight of spelljammer crews – its fruit is delicious! Spelljammers consider the starfly plant an omen of good luck, since it not only ends hunger but also symbolizes wealth and happiness.
The gossamer wings of the starfly trap sunlight, converting it to sugary food for the seed nestled inside. Similar to a peach pit, the warty, almond-shaped seed contains foul-tasting chemicals poisonous to living things.
Ecology: The starfly is actually the mobile fruit of a spacefaring plant, a tree that grows to maturity rooted in the ice and dirt of comets. Known as a mother-tree, it grows winged fruits that drift across space in search of new comets to seed.
The starfly’s shape resembles elven spacecraft, leading scholars to suppose (correctly) that elves took these plants and enchanted them to grow to maturity while mobile, thus creating variants such as the gadabout and the elven armada ship. In truth, the starfly is the mainstay of spacegoing elvenkind, since its simple form is so easily changed.
Mother-tree: This plant is the mature form of the starfly. Once the fruit has landed on a comet, the seed takes root and begins to digest the cometary ice and minerals. The sapling grows winglike leaves that take in sunlight. After a time, the young tree develops a bulb that stores water. At this stage, the leaves become reflective, focusing sunlight on the bulb and heating the water within. The resulting steam jets out of the bulb nozzles, pushing comet and plant closer to the sun. Once the tree is close enough, the leaves fall away, and the second stage of life begins.
In this phase, the tree feeds on the remaining minerals of the comet. By the time they are gone, the tree is large enough to generate a gravity plane and hold an air envelope. As the tree grows, its gravity plane attracts rocks and debris into the tree’s organic furnace, further aiding the tree’s growth. When the tree has grown to about 1000 feet, the smelting pods wither, giving off gases that create air.
New growth begins, dense clusters of leaves that form a habitat for animals and other plants. When the tree matures, it is a fully functioning ecology. Thc tree’s gravity may pull in other rock bodies, supporting further growth and eventually creating a liveworld.
It is rumored that elven wizards have used secret spells to mount special helms into mother-trees for use as spelljammers. The rumor says that the giant trees will succeed the armadas as the mainstays of the elven space fleet. As yet the rumor remains unproven, but rivals of the elves would pay a great deal to anyone who can confirm it.
Last Modified: June 10, 2010, 12:04:58 GMT
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