Flora of the Flanaess
Flanaess is home to many species of plants and flowers, both common and rare. Some are beautiful, some are benign, some are ugly, and a few are deadly. Many are known across the planes in many worlds (albeit by different names), while some are unique to the Oerth and the Flanaess.
Most scholars have concentrated on those that are dangerous to human life, such as the lyrannikin, needlemen, vampire cactus, and shambling mounds. Other less adventurous scholars, including the illustrious Savant-Sage, have chosen to focus on
the larger non-intelligent forms of plant life - the baobab, deklo, bronzewood, and oak, among others.
Wildflowers blossom in most places across the Flanaess. During the months of Planting, Flocktime, Wealsun, and Reaping, travelers will pass through fields exploding with color. The central Flanaess states of Furyondy, Nyrond, Veluna, and the
Urnst and Ulek states tend to be especially colorful, as does the plain surrounding the Free City of Greyhawk.
Compiled below is a partial list of various plants and flowers of the Flanaess. Some of the more unusual and useful plants are listed here, however, those with unique characteristics, whether useful or malign, will be described later.
NOTE: To recall the information listed below, the character passes an Intelligence (Nature) check DC 15.
Flora in Detail
Baneberry. The baneberry is a small bushy plant with large leaves and dense clusters of small (about the size of a lady's thumbnail) white flowers. It is found generally in open woods and thickets. The red fruit of the baneberry grows in clusters of 6-10 small, round, berries and is, as the name implies, highly poisonous. The northern variety has smaller, darker leaves and white fruit, but is otherwise the same.
Bladderpod. The bladderpod grows in hot, arid regions such as the Bright Desert and the fringes of the Sea of Dust. Growing to about knee-high, the plant sends out yellow flowers on short stems in the early spring, or what passes for spring in its environment. The bladderpod has saved the life of more than one thirsty traveler, for the finger-length fruit is plump, juicy, and nutritious.
Devil's Claw Creeper. Around in the Bright Desert and the arid grasslands of the West, the Creeper is a coarse plant with stems lying on the ground. The yellowish-green flowers are unremarkable, but the seed pods are eerily similar to the claws of the Bone Devil, which some scholars now call the Osyluth, a lesser baatezu. Dried and hardened in a fire, the pods are sometimes attached to nets used by the tribesmen of the area to make it more difficult to escape.
Dinotherian. This species grows primarily in the Sulhaut Mountains. The bushy body of the plant grows close to the ground and can grow as high as 15 feet with a width as much as 30 feet. The flowers bloom in high summer with a tulip-like shape. These flowers are typically red, but blue and yellow varieties are known. Some of these blossoms can grow as large as 6 feet. There is a Bakluni legend that says giants cultivated these flowers to use as gifts to their loved ones.
Dragon's Blood Bush. While not native to the Flanaess, this small bush from the Amedio Jungle has been successfully grown in the Hold of the Sea Princes. The bush grows low to the ground with sword-shaped leaves that are about 1 foot long. The savages of the Amedio jungle believe that these plants only bloom where the blood of a dragon has fallen. They coat their arrowheads with the juice from the heart of the plant, which has mildly poisonous effects including nausea and a loss of
strength. Hold alchemists have reported that this juice can be concentrated and rendered into a contact poison that causes total paralysis for up to a day. It is believed that the Scarlet Brotherhood has learned of this plant and its properties.
Dust Flower. Found in the Sea of Dust, the Dust Flower looks like a fleshy rose made of dust. Closer examination reveals that the 'flower' is actually a growth that exudes a sticky fluid. Dust sticks to the growth and the flower draws its nourishment from there. Cleaned of dust, the flower is edible and full of sweet juice.
Enemy's Blood. The bush has 9-inch long dagger-shaped leaves. The Suel believe that these plants only bloom where the blood of an enemy has fallen (which has its basis in reality). The Suel warriors sometimes coat their spears with the sap that drips from the leaves of the plant, which has poisonous effects including dizziness and paralysis. This same sap also contains seeds, which sprout from the area where the victim decomposes. This small bush is found in the Sulhaut and Crystalmist Mountains, and on the Tilvanot Peninsula. Today, the Scarlet Brotherhood cultivates this plant for its own purposes, using blood as fertilizer. Other sub-species of this plant have been recorded.
Fairy Slippers. Found generally on wooded mountain slopes or in wooded valleys, the Fairy Slipper is a leafy plant with a few stems in a clump. The plant takes its name from the flower, which resembles a small (about finger-length) slipper. The woodfolk believe that the fairies cultivate these plants, and they will avoid disturbing them at all costs. If by chance they do, they will leave an offering to placate the fairies - salt, a pail of milk, or a piece of leather are typical gifts.
Hanging Moss. Found in the Vast Swamp, Hanging Moss has long, forked stems up to 20 feet long, colored gray-green, and often grows hanging from other trees. The flowers are very small and white. The stem contains a fine reddish core, almost like human hair. This core is very fragile, except on certain varieties that grow deep in the swamp. In these species, the core of the stem is still as thin as human hair but is stronger than the strongest rope. The assassins of the Scarlet Brotherhood prize this variety for the making of thin easily concealed garrotes.
Hanging Moss has another, more sorrowful, name to the elves ...
Hair of the Maiden. The legend goes like this: long before the Twin Cataclysms shook the Oerth and humans migrated into the Flanaess, a small tribe of elves lived in the Menowood. The Menowood was much larger then, and places of it were very dark and evil. Lyrannikin and other evil plants abounded in these spots. One day a beautiful elven girl wandered away from the tribe's usual territory into a region of the wood close to the Vast Swamp. One of the lyrannikin saw her from afar and lusted after her. He pursued her with his black heart aflame, and she fled into the Swamp, her red hair trailing behind her like a banner. After many miles, she could go no further. Calling on the name of Rillifane, she cried out for help. The god responded, turning her into a large tree, with moss replacing her hair. Foiled, the lyrannikin cursed her to remain a tree forever.
Ice Lily The Ice Lily is found only in the Cold Marshes, now under the dominion of Iuz, the Old One. There is considerable debate in scholarly circles as to whether or not this is actually a plant. Regardless, the Ice Lily blooms in the coldest months of the year, often sending out roots into the snow instead of the ground. Its flower resembles a crystal rose, though it is flexible, not brittle. All attempts to grow them elsewhere have failed, even in magically-created 'coldhouses', so it seems that some property of the Marshes is at work here.
Ivory Blossom. These large white blossoms bloom in the depths of the Gnarley Forest and are highly desired by the wealthy in the Free City as decorations.
Lendor's Storm. Found only in the Lendore Isles, these flowers bloom only right before and after a thunderstorm. They are colorful flowers consisting of pink, blue and yellow petals. The flowers last only for 24 hours, usually opening a full hour before a rain shower even begins. It is said the flower gets its weather-predicting power from the god Lendor, but in actuality, it senses the change in air pressure and static electricity.
Luquipod. The luquipod grows primarily in the Crystalmist Mountains. The plant is about 2 feet tall and produces orange flowers in mid to high summer. The green berry-like fruit is extremely juicy and can provide a good deal of water to a parched individual. Careful examination of the berry's oval seeds is required, for a similar plant with pointy tipped seeds has poisonous fruit. This species is currently thriving in the Valley of the Mage and Ull.
Lotus. Several varieties of lotus grow across the Flanaess, but the rarest is the black lotus, a symbol of the Baklunish goddess Xan Yae. These grow only in areas sacred to the goddess and are highly prized by her followers. If the petals are eaten raw, certain madness will result. However, careful preparation will yield a powder that, when inhaled, gives great clarity of mind. Any mental tasks attempted by the user become easier. Time seems slow for those affected, enabling warriors to react more quickly, and mages to memorize spells at double the normal rate. The effects last for approximately an hour, but it is not safe to breathe more powder for at least a week. A second dose taken within a week can lead to addiction. This humble sage has seen the drooling, weeping, wreck of a warrior laid low by this addiction, and would strongly caution the foolish to avoid it.
Moonflowers. Found only in the Cairn Hills north of the Free City of Greyhawk, these unusual flowers change color with the phases of the moons. Some are tied to Luna, others to Celene, and some to both moons. The flower will be a brilliant white on the full moon, slowly fading through the colors to black as the moon wanes, and increasing again to white as the proper moon waxes. These flowers are glorious to see on a Midsummer's night, shining brightly under the light of the moons. The more practically minded of you should note that these flowers are used in the brewing of a potion of Rainbow Hues, and as material components in the spells Color Spray, Prismatic Spray, Prismatic Wall, and Prismatic Sphere.
Nerull's Blossom. Growing in thickets and clearing of wooded areas, these rare climbing plants have blue or violet star-shaped flowers with a yellow 'beak' in the center. In the early summer this plant bears a greenish berry that slowly turns red as summer wears on. The berry is slightly toxic at first but grows progressively more poisonous as summer wears on. By early fall when the fruit begins to fall, a small drop of the juice of this berry is enough to condemn a strong man to a hideous, painful death. The victim breaks out in bleeding sores, a high fever, and the skin becomes hypersensitive so that any touch causes great pain. It is highly prized by the minions of Iuz and the priesthood of Hextor in the Great Kingdom, who use it as an aid in interrogation.
Pelor's Blessing. These colorful flowers are best known for their habit of closing up at night and blossoming as the sun rises. A poultice made from these blossoms gathered at dawn will greatly speed the healing of wounds.
Pollenrose. Found only in the western Dry Steppes, the pollenrose looks like a flaky rose made of pollen. Closer examination reveals that the rose is actually a leaf that exudes a sappy fluid. Pollen sticks to the leaf and the plant draws its nourishment from there. Cleaned of pollen, the flower is edible and full of sweet juice. An adapted dusty version of this plants still thrives on the
fringes of the Sea of Dust today.
Rain Flowers. Found only in the Sea of Dust, these short-lived flowers bloom only after one of the rare rain showers of that region. They are colorful periwinkle-like flowers. Little certain knowledge of them exists save for the fact that they last only for a day. However, the inhabitants of the Sea of Dust prize them highly, so there may be some beneficial property unknown to us at this time.
Simmering Wiltflower. The simmering thrives on the boiling water of the Simmering River. The brown flower thrives on the shoreline of the near-boiling water of the channel and has a wilted appearance - hence the name. At the base of the river where it empties into the Jerlea Bay, the plant is sparse. Further upstream in the Hellfurnace Mountains it exists in abundance and seems unaffected by the constant ash that infests the area.
Sneezeweed. This daisy-like flower with drooping petals is found in swamps and wet meadows, where it grows up to 5 feet tall. Inside the flower is a greenish-yellow ball of pollen which can cause severe distress if inhaled, as this humble sage can attest. Evidently, the plant reproduces by dropping pollen when an animal brushes it. The sneezing of the animal helps the pollen to remain airborne for a longer period of time. It is a primary component in Dust of Sneezing and Choking.
Timorous. The timorous grows primarily in the Yeomanry area during late spring and early summer. It produces bright yellow daisy-like flowers that have a red streak along the petal edges. Below the surface, the plant grows from a large bulb measuring about 4-5 inches across. When the plant senses movement within a 1-2 foot radius it will withdraw suddenly into the ground, nestled safely inside its bulb. It does not emerge again for 3d4 rounds.
Trunk Cactus. The trunk cactus might be considered a tree due to its size (up to 50 feet tall), but it more properly belongs with the flowers due to its structure. The tall, thick trunk is covered with spines, but the inside is very juicy. If one cuts the top off of one of the smaller plants, hollows out the inside, and replaces the top, in about an hour the hollow will be filled drinkable liquid. The Trunk Cactus is found in the Bright Desert as well as the Sea of Dust. Some adventurers have reported seeing treant-like creatures resembling the cacti moving among large patches of Trunk Cactus, but these reports are unconfirmed. It is known that needlemen generally dwell near these patches.
Utoak. The Utoak tree has all the appearances of an oak tree with one exception: an Utoak tree is only 5 feet tall. Utoak is in most other respects equal to oak and can be used for most of the same purposes. This species is now thought to only exist in the Hornwood Forest.
Edible fungi provide food and water. Below is a listing of the most common.
Barrelstalk. A barrelstalk is a large, cask-shaped fungus that can be tapped and drained of the freshwater stored within it. A single barrelstalk contains 1d4 + 4 gallons of water and yields 1d6 + 4 pounds of food.
Bluecap. Dubbed the "grain of the Underdark," a bluecap is inedible, but its spores can be ground to make a nutritious, bland flour. Bread made from bluecap flour is known as sporebread or bluebread. One loaf is equivalent to 1 pound of food.
Fire Lichen. Pale orange-white in color, fire lichen thrives on warmth, so it grows in regions of geothermal heat. Fire lichen can be ground and fermented into a hot, spicy paste, which is spread on sporebread or added to soups or stews to flavor them. Duergar also ferments fire lichen into a fiercely hot liquor.
Ripplebark. Ripplebark is a shelf-like fungus that resembles a mass of rotting flesh. It is surprisingly edible. Though it can be eaten raw, it tastes better roasted. A single sheet of ripplebark yields 1d4 + 6 pounds of food.
Trillimac. A trillimac is a mushroom that grows to a height of four to five feet and has a broad gray-green cap and a light gray stalk. The cap's leathery surface can be cut and cleaned for use in making maps, hats, and scrolls (its surface takes on dyes and inks well). The stalk can be cleaned, soaked in water for an hour, then dried to make a palatable food akin to bread. Each trillimac stalk provides 1d6 + 4 pounds of food.
Waterorb. A waterorb is a bulbous fungus that grows in shallow water. A mature waterorb can be squeezed like a sponge, yielding a gallon of drinkable water and a pound of edible (if chewy and somewhat tasteless) food.
Zurkhwood. Zurkhwood is a massive mushroom that can reach a height of thirty to forty feet. Its large grain-like spores are edible and nutritionally equivalent to 1d4 + 4 pounds of food, but zurkhwood is more important for its hard and woody stalks. Zurkhwood is one of the few sources of timber in the Underdark, used to make furniture, containers, bridges, and rafts, among other things. Skilled crafters can use stains, sanding, and polishing to bring out different patterns in zurkhwood.
The fungi species described in this section have strange properties but no nutritional value.
Nightlight. A nightlight is a tall and tube-shaped bioluminescent mushroom that grows to a height of 1d6 + 4 feet and emits bright light in a 15-foot radius and dim light for an additional 15 feet. A nightlight that is uprooted or destroyed goes dark after 1 round. If a living nightlight is touched, either by a creature or an object, its light goes out until it is touched again.
Nilhogg's Nose. A Nilhogg's nose is a small mushroom that grants any creature that eats it advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks based on smell for 1d4 hours. However, the creature suffers disadvantage on saving throws against effects based on smell for the same amount of time.
Ormu. A bioluminescent green moss that grows in warm and damp areas, ormu is particularly common near steam tunnels and vents. It sheds dim light in a 5-foot radius, and can be harvested, dried, and made into a phosphorescent powder or pigment.
Timmask. Also known as "the devil's mushroom," a timmask is a two-foot-tall toadstool with orange and red stripes across its beige cap. Uprooting or destroying a timmask causes it to expel a 15-foot-radius cloud of poisonous spores. Creatures in the area must succeed at a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned. While poisoned in this way, the creature is under the effect of a confusion spell with a duration of 1 minute. When the spell effect ends, the poisoned condition also ends.
Tongue of Madness. Tongue of madness is an edible fungus that looks somewhat like a large human tongue. A creature that eats a tongue of madness must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or compulsively speak aloud its every thought for the next hour. The effect can be ended with a lesser restoration spell or similar magic.
Torchstalk. A one- to two-foot-tall mushroom with a combustible cap, a single torchstalk burns for 24 hours once lit. There is a 1-in-6 chance that a torchstalk explodes when lit, bursting into a cloud of fiery spores. Creatures within 10 feet of an exploding torchstalk take 3 (1d6) fire damage.