Scaletrunk Branchnolm

From 2speccers2tools wiki

The continued development of Kamm’s floral diversity is showing no signs of stopping. As the landmass’s soils are acclimated further with the recycling of nutrients, newer, needier varieties of nomherbs and pissgrass alike arise to take keen advantage of this ever more accessible bounty, most notable among them is the land’s first variety of inland tree. Derived from Tiertrunk Nolm spores carried into Kamm’s interior, this errant population found upon ripe opportunity and quickly developed to exploit it, diverging into the first Scaletrunk Branchnolms.

Like earthly pines of which it shares a few anatomical innovations, the Scaletrunk Branchnolm is a hardy, mid-succession flora, able to survive in poorer soil conditions than distant Dingusian cousin trees like the Plumboak. As a response to the cooler, temperate-continental climes of interior Kamm, the wide singular fronds have divided up into many small, somewhat blade-shaped leaflets to minimize heat loss somewhat, with an added benefit of being more resistant to strong winds. As it is an evercyan flora, these fronds can momentarily halt photosynthetic functions with the onset of winter, then resume upon spring’s arrival. Its growth is built off of its ancestry, with new trunk segments starting with a photosynthetic cyan before such cells are killed off and a silvery-taupe woody composition is attained as the flora ascends. A key mutation has taken place here however: once the flora has attained a certain height, a shoot splits from the main trunk and becomes a distinct branch. With a new branch, another whorl of cyan fronds can grow, bolstering photosynthetic potential to support a taller flora. Among dense stands of conspecifics, branches tend to shoot upwards to avoid crowding; in more open environments, branch growth becomes wider than it is tall. Most recorded individuals have attained an average height of 12 meters, though a select few have grown to as tall as 18.

As for the notch-like trunk segments, these are now smaller, more numerous, and bunched closer together as to minimize water loss; though segments directly underneath where branches would diverge are much wider to provide these with growing room.

With little incentive to incorporate so much lead into its systems, the trunk of the Scaletrunk Branchnolm has become much lighter and can ascend to mature height quicker than other flora in its size range as a consequence. Scaletrunk Branchnolm roots are wide and robust to both provide anchorage into the soil and for drawing up nutrients. Mutualist Nitropellet cultures inhabiting the roots assist in sequestering precious nitrogenous compounds.

At the center of each branch is an elongate sporophore. In late summer, these send out gametes for receptive sporophores to collect, and when conjugated, form a diploid spore encased in a tough seed coat. Thanks to this seed coat, spores can wait out for quite some time until conditions become favorable enough for their germination. Riding the wind with pappus-like tufts, these spores can be carried far from their parents. Scaletrunk Branchnolm sprouts resemble miniature tiertrunks with a few, vivid cyan woody segments.

The first branchnolm forests have already become major ecological players in their range, responsible for creating ever more distinct assemblages of Kammite flora. By the time some of their fronds fall off and die, their decomposition nourishes the soil, further contributing to its development. With robust roots, groves can hold the local soil together, contributing to greater stability, especially along rivers where soil would otherwise get washed out frequently. Another interesting consequence is the increase of Kammite Nomchomper diversity; with increasing numbers of their woody hosts, so did the numbers of these “Insects”, and so will readily feast.