Tallstrand Crystals

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Tallstrand Crystals split from their ancestor and developed reproduction better suited for life on land. Instead of laying flat or hanging, their “hairs” are erect and bear reproductive organs at their tips. These organs have two parts, the fuzz and the globe. The fuzz consists of long strands of male gamete cells which are broken off by wind or other disturbances such as passing fauna, while the globe consists of a paper-like cover over a smaller structure filled with female gametes ready to be fertilized. These features grow during the early spring or the beginning of the wet season. When mature, the globe’s cover will dry out and become porous like a Chinese lantern fruit, allowing the spores to enter with ease. Once the spores are fertilized, the remains of the cover will crumble and wind or fauna will distribute them, and eventually the rest of the organ will fall off as well.

Due to their airborne nature, Tallstrand Crystals were able to spread by flyway to Darwin and some of the TSSL islands, though they were not able to spread north to Barlowe or Hydro due to a combination of trade winds and difficulty traversing the desert. There are many species which can be difficult to distinguish from one another, though the shape and color of the globe is a common species indicator. They come in a number of general forms including rotund dark-colored polar species, tall-haired wetland and riparian species, and arboreal species. Wetland and riparian species have tall hairs so that they stay clear of the water, as if the fuzz was to get wet it would not be distributed as easily. Arboreal species generally grow on rocks and larger flora, which they have better access to relative to their ancestor thanks to their airborne spores.