Spine Fruit, Eronidas Blood Fruit, Crown Plant|
Sometimes called the “king-among-fruit” for the spiked crown of leaves that protrude from the top of the fruit, the Shurbakal is a plant originally cultivated on distant Guldar which has since been transplanted to Daen by the Eronidas. Often overlooked at first due to its hard, spiny exterior and deep crimson coloration, the blood red flesh of a Shurbakal is surprisingly sweet and has been a favorite treat among Eronidas since its domestication. It is difficult to grow, taking plenty of time and care, though the sweet fruit and juice it produces is certainly worth it for many. It has seen rising popularity among Ailor and Nelfin, resulting in the plant now being farmed across the broad swath of tropical terrain.
Shurbakal originated back on Guldar, the homeland of the Eronidas, and represented for them the pinnacle of fruit. Its exotic color was also pleasing, and its use in oral stories confirm these traits and opinions being at least as old as the establishment of civilized Eronidas society itself. When the Great Leaving came, the plant was collected and consumed along the journey, though most Eronidas tales report how close Aloria was to losing the plant forever (though this is likely an exaggeration of its status as a rare fruit by the time the Eronidas reached Daen). Upon their arrival, the plant was immediately sown into the ground and as time went on, it became a regal plant, largely only consumed by the top four tiers of the Eronidas caste system that now rule their many Polon. However, eventually the plant began to expand beyond the fields of the Estates in the tropical polities. Some became wild and were discovered by those at the borders of Eronidas territory, while others survived in the desperate baggage of fleeing slaves, with a third vector in common trade between the Eronidas and the Regalian Empire. Eventually, the plant’s fruit lost its special status in wider Aloria, and while it has remained a good for the upper class, that has largely been due to its tropical origin and overall rarity. Still, in most Polon the exclusion practice remains and the plant has earned its many regal nicknames as a result of its association with the top, rather than the bottom.
Shurbakal grows to be between three and four feet tall. At the base of the plant is a thick, woody stalk from which the long, green, fluted leaves of the plant extend outwards in all directions. These leaves are anywhere from one and a half to two feet long, resulting in the plant’s circumference being roughly the same as its height. These leaves have a series of small, thorn-like hooks along the sides that often snag passersby and are thought by some to perhaps represent what the Eronidas stories say when the nature of their land “turned against them”. Twice each year, once around March and again around August, the budding of one to three bright bell-shaped flowers form at the center of the plant. These flowers have a bright pink coloration with a deep red base. After a few weeks, these flowers begin to turn into the initial stages of the fruit. It then takes roughly two months to grow to maturity, the flowers ultimately all fusing together to create the final product. The fruit of the plant, known as a Shurbu, is roughly a foot tall and can weigh as much as ten pounds, with an egg-shape topped by a thick top of green brittling leaves. The fruit’s skin is red, as are its insides, but the external skin is covered in highly durable brown spines which protect the plant from most animals.
Uses and Abilities
Shurbakal is primarily used in cuisine, with the Shurbu it produces being a sweet and tangy substance. They are commonly cut open and eaten the traditional Eronidas ways involving such fruit, but outsiders largely just cut them into triangles or keep them as rings. In addition, the fruit’s juice is an exotic ingredient drunk whole (though rarely at a very high concentration, for it is often deemed unsavorly tangy in the opinion of all), but also sometimes incorporated as a sweetener into an array of treats. From candies to ice-related dessert dishes, the Shurbu has many uses. However, the Eronidas have developed even more culinary uses for the plant which wider Aloria has largely not adapted to. The central stalk of the fruit is also considered a delicacy among Eronidas, as it stores a majority of the sugar of the plant. They have created a special dish, known as Shur-Drak, which has the central stalk dried and cut into thin strips. These are often brought on campaign and used as an energy boost on long marches. They also find themselves capable of producing crude sugar through the grinding of the dried stalk, allowing for them to sweeten dishes but also harvest something else of value for export.
- Shurbu juice is occasionally kept in bars to be mixed with a dark rum. The resulting beverage is called a “Setting Sun”, as the Shurbu juice mixes with the rum creating a similar appearance to the sky at sunset.
- Shurbakal sugar is often assumed by Regalian traders to be sugar that the Eronidas have stolen from Altalar or Cielothar.
HydraLana on 10/24/2021.|
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