|Official Name||Giving Tree|
|Common Name||Vertheart Tree, Cae-Maen’s Gift|
|Habitat||Humid and tropical regions|
The Giving Tree is an evergreen species native to the humid and tropical regions of Aloria. Likely originating from the Far West, the plant is well known for an extremely fast growing period and rapid, continuous production of fruit over the year of life it possesses. Given Fruit, its bounty, is sweet and aromatic, enjoyed by many in a variety of sweet dishes. The tree is also notable for its ancient ties with the Altalar goddess Sei-Maan, whose charitable nature it is sometimes seen to emulate.
The Giving Tree is thought by most to come to the Far West, as it didn’t start to be mentioned until late into The Consolidation. The plant was joined early on with Cae-Maen due to its rapid and plentiful abundance thought to demonstrate charity, which made it very unpopular for a time. However, when The Floundering gripped the Empire, the plant was soon embraced by the poor and those in slums as a lifeline, capable of producing vast amounts of fruit with relative ease. As the Allorn Empire continued in its decline and the Altalar evolved, the plant was stripped of its religious meaning and largely became a cash crop alongside the likes of sugarcane, but it was even more prized for the speed it grew and the richness of its bounty. As a result, it was transplanted across Daen and into regions of Corontium, and was often a minor feature of regional plantations. In the wake of the Wildering, the Giving Tree retained its significance, but now to the Ailor. Often starved and cruelly treated, the Daendroque Ailor and its offshoots came to love the tree for its abundance, giving it its current name, but in their own tongues. The plant was still grown by the Altalar though, and over the centuries, has somewhat faded from public memory. There is not as much demand for the plant as there once was, and it is now quite often found in the wild than on agricultural land. But in those places, it is cared for by tenders, who reap its often-ripening rewards with gusto.
Giving Trees are medium in size, capable of growing between ten and fifteen feet tall. They are often highly vertical, lacking the spread of Royal Oaks or other similar trees with their branches. Its bark is thin, and possesses a light to patchy brown coloration. It’s leaves are oblong in shape, measuring three to seven inches long and two to five inches wide when fully matured. The plant itself can grow from a seed in the course of a month, dying after only a year, with a flowering season every eight to ten weeks, which overall makes it highly productive.
The flowers that form the Given Fruit, the term for the Giving Tree’s produce, morph from white to pale green over the course of several days after they first emerge. Then, the flower closes, and the plant’s fruit begins to form. They are vaguely heart shaped, but are more properly classified as ovoid, and can grow up to a foot long with a firm skin consistency. Their skin is various shades of green and possesses prominent, downward turned and slightly curved prickles. They are not hazardous for Aloria’s Races, and are more of a deterrent for animals. The flesh inside of the fruit is white, and tastes like strawberries and apples, while the scent is similar to that of Shurbakal. Its texture is similar to that of Sunspears, and its seeds are large, flat and black, easily removed for consumption.
Uses and Abilities
Giving Trees themselves make poor wood, though some Altalar and Ailor consider smaller furniture and decorative items made from the trees to be valuable. The plant’s far more continuous use is as a foodsource, as the Given Fruits are aromatic, tanged with sweetness, and plentiful. They can be used to make sweetmeats, candies, juices, and sugary drinks.
- There are some who claim that in the Dread Empire, there are Giving Trees twice as big as those in Daen, whose fruit is sweeter and even more plentiful. Most see these claims as either being Kathar propaganda or, if such trees do exist, they were likely achieved through the use of Void Essence.
- A tale involving the Giving Tree is commonly told to Altalar children, mocking the Altalar vices of compassion, charity, self-sacrifice, and self-loathing the tree is seen to possess thanks to its ties to Sei-Maan.