Spoke Cushio

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The Spoke Cushio is descended from riparian populations of the Cushion Bush. Of its two relatives, it is the most adapted to a riparian existence. Of its contemporary riparian Cushios, it is perhaps the closest to the Cushion Bush: it’s the shortest (but not by much), has the weakest stem thickenings, has a barely-changed root system, and is the longest-lived, with a slower metabolism closer to the Cushion Bush’s.

In ideal conditions, the tips of its branches grow diagonally, in arrangements similar to steering wheels in cars.

Environmental Adaptations

Spoke Cushios are adapted to freshwater areas which flood or get waterlogged soil frequently. Has big lenticels which allow it to gain oxygen even when the soil is waterlogged, and can withstand flooding. It Can withstand waterlogged soils for about eleven days, and flooding for about five.

Of its contemporary Cushios, it’s the most adapted to clay soils, although it struggles to live and grows stunted in pure clay. Greater levels of organic matter help in live in clay conditions, which is why it often shows up after Shrub Gazebos do in barren clay environments. Darwinian Crestgills’ tunneling also helps Spoke Cushios’ roots grow in clay conditions, and as Darwinian Crestgills feed on detritus, Shrub Gazebos indirectly help Spoke Cushios by feeding the detritivores.

Ecological Interaction

It is somewhat tolerant of shade: a necessary trait when growing amid dense stands of Purpines. In the Purpine-dominated Darwin Taiga, it’s more common near ponds and in lowlands (the 1 km elevation areas, largely in the eastern and western sides of Darwin Taiga).

The Tundra Kralptus is the Spoke Cushio’s greatest ecological competition, given their similar sizes. While the Tundra Kralptus is naturally hardy and has fungus-like roots which can gradually erode rocky soil, the Spoke Cushio’s nitrogen nodules allow it to grow faster in low-fertility soils, potentially growing taller faster (over many years) and shading out its less shade-tolerant competition. Yet, when Purpines’ dead branches lead to forest fires, the Tundra Kralptus withstands fires somewhat better, so in most areas they are locked in a stalemate.

As it lacks true wood, the entire flora is digestible to any herbivore equipped to deal with flora that’s moderately difficult to digest. Younger specimens are almost broccoli-like in texture and digestibility, if not quite as nutritious.


The Spoke Cushio is a hermaphrodite with an unusual arrangement: the male and female catkin-like structures, or "ketkins", grow from the same flower stalks. Immature male ketkins serve as comb-like structures to swipe mature male ketkins out of the air, where it can then fertilize the female flower that’s very close. By the time Spoke Cushios’ male flowers mature, the female flowers of the same individual are all closed. A population of Spoke Cushios have staggered times of catkin development, so there are always male ketkins floating around in the early polar summer.

Spoke Cushios aren’t adapted for six continuous months of winter, so they are limited to the upper ranges of their habitats.