Paneworts

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With the glassflora filling the roles of low-level background flora in the diversity-starved Oofle Floristic Kingdom, it should not come as a surprise that they are diversifying impressively, chiefly due to the fact that, inexplicably enough, very little in their niches existed on Oofle’s soils before. While they continue to fill much needed roles in maintaining the land’s ecosystems, some instead assume similar roles in the continent’s oft-ignored waterways. Somewhat closely related to the Glasses-on-a-Stick, the Paneworts compose a diverse genus of such flora, contributing to the development of Oofle’s freshwater ecologies.

Life in the freshwater systems of Oofle demands a few key adaptations from the Paneworts. As with all flora recently moving into freshwater ecologies, their cells’ vacuoles have shrunk notably to maintain osmotic balance and to not overfill with water. As their Rooted Glass ancestors are sometimes found in estuarine waters, transitioning to substantially less salty waters is not too far of a jump. Unlike the Ooflian Poopenblade they sometimes cohabitate with, the photosynthetic structures of the Paneworts - their namesake panes - are rigid, mineralline organs, supported only by far softer, invisibilin II based structures around the bottom side faces, and are prone to being dislodged by fast-moving river currents. To cope with this, many species have somewhat curved panes which minimize resistance against the river’s flow, the curves being more prominent the further upstream you go. Further ensuring their panes aren’t slung about in the water, the base tissue is slightly widened on the substrate, but due to each individual pane’s small proportions and their clustering growth patterns, these bases aren’t prominently wide.

Paneworts often grow in clustering carpets; provided there is enough access to resources and suitable space, these carpets can span quite wide. Carpets of any given Panewort species are composed of many clones, each budding off from their parents via a network of runners. In especially clear waters, you can see parts of the waterbed covered in little, glinting prismatic scales, perhaps so much mesmerized by the reflective light show that you’d forget they’re actually common “pond scum” flora!

Besides producing clones via runners, all Panewort species can ensure greater, more stable genetic diversity via the production of spores. Inherited from a common ancestor between them and the Glasses-on-a-Stick, these glassflora bear sporangia along their side faces, each containing haploid gamete spores. Sent into the water, they conjugate with other gametes to form diploid zygote spores, then ride the downstream flow to potentially settle into a suitable spot in the waterbed. It is thanks to this recombination of genetic material that the Panewort genus is able to attain the diversity it has.

Like their close cousins, Paneworts are diazotrophic, helping to fix nitrogenous compounds in the water into more useable forms, already establishing themselves as a keystone taxon for more developed ecologies to build upon. Paneworts are also capable of absorbing nutrients directly from the water column as well as the do with their rhizoids; incorporating the nutrients via their softer basal cuticle, it is lined with minute pores to allow such entry.

Typical of all glassflora, Paneworts grow most abundant and healthily in sediments rich in silicates as to maintain their photosynthetic panes; consequently, they are rare in sediments lacking sufficient silica quantities. Also common to all glassflora are the invisibilin plastids they utilize for photosynthesis. As a holdover from their amphibious ancestry, many Panewort species are quite tolerant of being beached from low water levels.

Presently, Panewort diversity totals in a few dozen species found throughout Oofle’s wetter climates, but as the land’s freshwater ecologies mature, their diversity will likewise grow and inevitably give rise to their own distinct offshoots.