|Official Name||Banasque Tree|
|Common Name||Sunspear Tree, Hadir’iilha, Tilinili-jiri|
|Habitat||Humid and tropical regions|
Banasque Trees are exotic fruit-bearing plants of unknown origin which have since spread across Aloria to areas of Westwynd, Hadar and beyond. The plant’s fruits are known as Sunspears, Banasques, and several other terms native to the region they exist in. Growing in bunches, and often bright yellow in coloration, they are commonly used in unique dishes both by the regions they come from but also in the Regalian Archipelago. The most notable region to produce them is the Silerian Chain, and as importing them is a lucrative trade, the local Ailor have grown prosperous off of harvesting the bunches.
When and where the Banasque Tree emerged is a topic of intense racial and regional belief. There exist three main theories; the first is that the Teledden, when they originally found the Silerian Chain, brought the plant back to the mainland with them, where it then spread; the second is that the plant originated on Hadar, and through interactions from a variety of groups and nations, the plant was gradually spread outward. However, the most commonly accepted theory is that the plant, surprisingly enough, originated on Farahdeen; to the average peasant mind, such a thing seems impossible, as how can a largely desert have sustained such temperamental plants? However, the records of the Sariyd Empire kept by the modern Qadir attest to the Hadir’iilha, a species of plant that grew long yellow berries, which existed some 4000 years ago. It is believed that Elven connections with Farahdeen saw the plant exported to tropical Westwynd by the Elves in order to feed the plantations found there, while on Farahdeen, the Qadir records indicate a massive blight wiped out the region’s samples of the fruit. Some additionally blame the Elves for unleashing this blight, but the records themselves give no hint at foul play.
Regardless, by the time of the Cataclysm, the Banasque Tree was common in tropical areas of Westwynd, Altaleï, Sileria, Corontium and Hadar, which has remained that way to this day. In Sileria, the Suvial are known to see the plant as a luxury good, and they have carefully tended to their few gardens of the substance over the past three centuries. Mainland Teledden plantations still grow the substance, still often tended to by slaves much in the same way as Allorn plantations were hundreds of years ago. As for the Ailor, following their freedom from the Allorn Empire, many abandoned the Banasque Tree before eventually returning to it as a source of food and profit. As a result, the plant is commonly found in the wild just as much as it is in agricultural lands in Westwynd, and the tropical regions of Corontium. Then, in Farahdeen, the Banasque Tree is cared for and tended to by the Songaskia. Much like the Suvial, they too have come to value the plant, but in a much more significant way. To them, the plant is a gift from the sun itself, and so has enormous value in their society. As a result, it is almost exclusively consumed by the upper class of the Songaskian Masaya though at major festivals, mass-produced treats made from the plant’s fruit are common. Finally, in Hadar, the plant is cared for the least. While the Allar do consume it, the meat-focused diet of their leadership has largely seen the plant ignored over the centuries of Allar history in the region. In the modern day, the Allar do grow the plant, but it is largely for foreign markets. In summary, the Banasque Tree has spread far and wide, and serves as many symbols for equally as many groups across the world.
Banasque Trees are short, measuring only nine to fifteen feet tall, and possess a very vertical structure. Its bark is dark, and fairly fleshy, and grows out from a central corm that exists at its base. At the top of the plant are half a dozen to a dozen very large smooth-edged oblong leaves, measuring six to eight feet long and often two feet wide. The plant’s fruit grows from a cluster of several conical pale yellow and white flowers that emerge only when the plant is fully matured. The fruits produced by the plant are called a variety of things, but Sunspears and Banasques are the most common terms for them. They are slightly curved, with a thick leathery skin that can be peeled off. Within the fruit is a pale, semi-firm flesh that is sweet and aromatic. Within the plant are large, white, inedible seeds which need to be removed when found. These seeds are often valued in an agricultural setting, but are seen as annoying by chefs and homemakers as they serve no role in meal-making.
Uses and Abilities
Banasque Trees make very poor construction material, as their “bark” is far more of a central stalk than a true example of wood. Instead, the plant’s sole use comes from its culinary possibilities. The main one is from the fruit the Tree produces, the famous Sunspears, which can be cooked to produce a unique taste or combined into curries and other plant-rich dishes. However, it is most common for Sunspears to be used to make desserts, from playing a role in several frozen delights to being fried in batter for a unique flavor combination. Beyond the fruit, its leaves can also be used to make dishes. They are always used as a wrapping around some combination of food at the middle of these bundles, and are often steamed before the twine or other material used to keep the bundles intact is cut away to allow consumers to get at the now cooked food. This last use is most seen in lower-class Altalar society, but has migrated into areas of eastern Daen.
- The Banasque Tree is rather temperamental, and requires consistent care to produce good harvests and stay alive, no matter the modern climate it finds itself in.