The Flora of Ooranye

 

General remarks

Not quite so rich in species as Earth, Ooranye can nevertheless boast an impressive flora, especially considering its distance from the Sun.  Many of the forests which clothe up to two per cent of the plains consist of trees 150 or even 200 yards high, of varied species and shades of blue and green.  Other areas of plain and hilly country are covered with scrub and/or moss.

The narps

These are perhaps the most dangerous plants on the planet.  They can live for millions of days, and most of that time seem motionless, but when a wayfarer skims too close, the narp's laser-tipped stem can aim and fire, and for the next few tens of thousands of days the plant slowly gathers in the wreckage with sweeps of its leaves, to ingest it in its acid-oozing core.

The katora

The rare katora groves have sometimes been held as sacred to the world-spirit, but actually the intelligence haunting them is that of the katora themselves.  Spiky, vaguely hawthorn-like, they are occasionally apt to tremble though no wind is blowing.  It is believed that during this phase of the Great Cycle the plants are in a kind of trance.  Hardly anything is known of them, or of the source of the beliefs concerning them, but this lack of detailed knowledge is combined with a conviction that when one stands in a katora grove one is in the presence of a secretive, telepathic intelligence.

The vheic

These are the glowing ell-light plants which are cultivated in the fields around the cities of Syoom, where their natural glow normally pulses in a thirty-hour cycle, following the rhythm of the throom.  See micro-organisms.

Brightening the cities' contados with zones of golden territory, the vheic provide fuel for skimmers, airships, land vehicles and also for static machinery of every type.  Furthermore, ell-light phials provide stable backing for the phial-credit currency system.  The civilization of Syoom would grind to a halt without the vheic.

Up to era 7, vheic could only be used in its uncompressed form, as a relatively inefficient fuel, or for lighting. 

Successful experiments in the use of compressed ell-light for power were first carried out in era 7, the Nitrogen Era.  The phials - a kind of standard fuel-cell - came into widespread use in Era 10, the Neon Era. 

 

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