From Sagan 4 Beta Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Grassterplents are the various small long-leafed asterplents. Like a very strange grass, they seemingly carpet the ground in some regions, or grow in clumps if there isn’t enough moisture to support a dense population. Their most notable change is that they burrow when they take root using wooden mole-like claws, giving them a more stable base to work with for making their distinctive long many-bladed leaves. This also serves as a defense against the rising Plentmowers which are present in much of their range, so that they only eat the easily-regenerated leaves and not the reproductive organ. Due to its underground status, after taking root more roots actually erupt from the underground portion, functionally making its reproductive organ part of its root system.

There are many, many species of Grassterplent—roughly 300, in fact. Most species have deep, deep roots which collect lots of water to prevent erosion, though desert and polar species tend to prioritize width over depth like many similar flora on Earth. Species in regions which are home to predators such as Plentmowers tend to have tougher leaves than species in regions where these are absent, though tough leaves are almost universal in polar environments. A number of species are adapted for life in wetland and riparian biomes, their roots being both wide and deep to tangle with neighbors and keep them well-anchored. However, above the surface, they can be difficult to distinguish—they just look like grass.

Juvenile Grassterplents are tiny and dispersed by wind. The fronds on their leaves interlock, creating a single large puff. During dispersal season, which varies between species, the air can be filled with these babies floating lazily in the wind, occasionally landing to feed on detritus or microbes using their roots before being picked up by a small gust once again. The appearance of juveniles varies little between species, though those which reside in deserts or polar regions may have thicker, carrot-like roots which are more resistant to desiccation. When it comes time to take root, they dig burrows with their clawed feet and bury themselves, leaving only their leaves and the opening of their reproductive organ exposed. As their half-buried status makes them more susceptible to having mud or debris washed into their reproductive organ, they have developed the reflex to "cough"—a sudden jerking of their reproductive muscles which creates an actual coughing sound to match and clears away the instruction.

Like their ancestor, Grassterplents reproduce using spores. They have a mating season, where they send out male spores to be collected by others, and 1–2 weeks later comes the dispersal season when the newborns are launched into the air with an exhale-like motion. This usually falls in spring, thaw, or wet season depending on the climate, and different species in the same habitat often offset their mating seasons by a few days to a week to avoid interference.