|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 Daen, Corontium, Hadaria and even, sparingly, in Farah’deen. 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 Solacian Isles, and as importing them is a lucrative trade, the Tolonne and other 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 Altalar, when they originally found the Sundial Isles, brought the plant back to mainland Daen with them, where it then spread; the second is that the plant originated on Hadaria, and through interactions from a variety of Races and nations, the plant was gradually spread outward that way. However, the most commonly accepted theory is that the plant, surprisingly enough, originated on Farah’deen; to the Ailor mind, such a thing seems impossible, as how can a largely deset nation 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 1000 years ago. It is believed that Altalar connections with Farah’deen saw the plant exported to tropical Corontium by the Elves in order to feed the plantations found there, while on Farah’deen, the Qadir records indicate a massive blight wiped out the region’s samples of the fruit. Some additionally blame the Altalar 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 areas of Daen, the Far West, Corontium and Hadaria, which has remained that way to this day. In the Far West, the Sundial Altalar 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 Altalar plantations still grow the substance, still often tended to by slaves much in the same way as Altalar plantations 500 or more years before. As for the Ailor, following their freedom from Altalar, 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 eastern Daen, and the tropical regions of Corontium. Then, in Farah’deen, the Banasque Tree is cared for and tended to by slaves working for their Songaskian masters. Much like the Sundial Altalar, they too have come to value the plant, but in a much better way. To them, the plant is a gift from the sun herself, 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 Hadaria, 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 and the Ailor traders who dominate regional trade. In summary, the Banasque Tree has spread far and wide, and serves as many symbols for equally as many Cultures and Races.
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.
- Banasques are sometimes seen as a phallic symbol, especially on Solacia considering the region’s reputation as a place where it is easy to find sexual pleasures.