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Plants of the North - Flora
Written By: Elizabeth Barrette (Writer), Ellen Million (Writer), Deirdre / Wyld_Dandelyon (Developer)
Some of the plants of the North

Feverpod (or firebell), sunweed and sweet reed are all found in marshy areas and have a variety of uses.

Dreamflower is the Northern version of hazeleaf. It is related to chamomile, and has strong soporific and analgesic qualities. The flower buds are dried for use in medicinal teas, and are one of the more potent herbs available in the North.

Moon blossom is a common contraceptive in the Empire, but the snow-unicorn riders call the flower summer dreams, and it is sometimes given as a courting gift - but be wary! It will give a young snow-unicorn stomach cramps.

Border chicory can be found at the location of old shard boundaries and can warn of temporal oddness.

Tall fireweed is so named because it is one of the first plants to return after a fire, because of its bright magenta blossoms, and because it turns brilliant red after frosts. It it quick to spread, both by fluffy seeds and by rhizomes, and does best in full sun.

Dean Aneiís Lace is based on Queen Anne's Lace, a tall wildflower with clustered white blossoms.

Vetch is a wild legume (inedible) with purple flowers that can be rubbed on insect bites for temporary relief.

Yarrow blossoms white as snow.
Pick it everywhere you go --
Good for cramps and colds and flu,
Everything that troubles you.
~excerpt from The Flower Chant by Elizabeth Barrette

The triangle flower (article forthcoming) is a three-petaled early spring ephemeral with antimicrobial properties that can cause miscarriage.

Elderberry, horehound, and lungwort are Earth herbs also found in the North, and sultry is the Northern name for a plant very similar to monskhood that is deadly poisonous.

These alpine flowers have been noted:

Akovu's Crown flower
with its yellow to red blossoms,
good for lifting spirits in dark winters

comb phlox whose pink petals
have fringed tips, whose root
may be pounded into a salve
for easing sore muscles

mountain eye with white cups
around a fluffy yellow center,
good for soothing wounds
and fighting germs
~excerpt from Flowers For His Crown by Elizabeth Barrette

A wide selection of grasses and some hardy grains fill clearings and grow above the treeline in the foothills of some of the mountains. They thrive in areas too rocky for brush and trees, and feed many herbivores. Among the grains are cold-hardy barley and rye. These are not actively cultivated by the Northerners, so they tend to get choked out by more aggressive plants over time.

Top onions provide tasty flavor for many Northern dishes, as do many cold-resistant herbs such as mint and chamomile. Chickweed and dandelions may sprout in loose soil. A low evergreen-like plant with pale yellow flowers (similar to Labrador tea) likes shady forest floors and adds a spicy kick of flavor. Nettles are an early source of green that are delicious when cooked, but protected by mildly stinging leaves.

A variety of mushrooms are also found, most commonly in moist forest areas, including suntop (an edible but mealy yellow-orange-capped mushroom often found on old stumps), dancer's skirt (a frilly orange-ish mushroom that grows in stacks, tasty and edible), feshern: shelf mushrooms (dense white and gray 'upside-down' mushrooms that grow on birch trees and are useful to burn to keep insects away) and greenkey (not pictured, a tiny rare green mushroom that will cause cramps and is used by healers as an ingredient in some poultices). No local mushrooms are deadly to humans, though many are unpalatable (and greenkey is distinctly uncomfortable!).

Moss is found in dim, dark corners, but don't rely on the old proverb about finding moss on the north side of a tree looking for shade - during the Northern summer, the sun will circle the horizon, rising and setting in the north if it sets at all, and swinging high into the sky to the south.

Latusha picks handfuls of usenaard,
the stringy moss that grows on spruces:
pale green for medicinal use,
black for starting fires.
~Excerpt from Autumn Gathering by Elizabeth Barrette

Tingle-moss is a moss mentioned in Wild Snowy Chase, Part 6 (by Deirdre Murphy) as a pain-reliever used when giving snow-unicorns new nose-rings.

Common lichen grows directly on rocks and can survive brutal alpine cold. They are a famine food for both humans and snow-unicorns, but are more commonly used to make dyes. A rare, frilly white variety edged in blue is a mild psychotropic. Healers use it in small doses to calm nervous patients.

For larger, more complex lichens and mosses, the Northerners also have access to Lichenwold.

Notable absences

These plants are either not found at all in the North, or are extremely rare and will be found only in very sheltered areas:

Pines, maples, oaks and other hardwoods, ferns and devil's club, nectarine, peaches, plums, grapes, wheat, and corn.

This article contains extra material for our contributors only!

Related Art:

Stories and poetry related to this article:

  • Wee Snowy Watch 1 - In The Arctic Dark (1520.02.15)
  • All Related Articles:

    Berries of the North: An overview of berries that grow in the north.

    Hare-thorn: A description of the Northern plant, hare-thorn.

    Snow-unicorn Riders: A description of the practices and beliefs of the people who live in the northern-most reaches of Torn World.

    Snowbloom: A rare, colorful algae that forms on fresh snow.

    Trees and Bushes of the North: A look at the trees and bushes of the North.

    Triangle Flower: Triangle flower is a spring ephemeral that grows in the North.

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