Tear Bower Mushroom.
Native to: Forests of Northern Idalos
Locations: North-Western to Some Parts of Central Idalos (Only West Continent)
The small mushroom is rarely overlooked in the forest, its pale blue colour making it nearly glow in the darker recesses. It has a long, thin stem topped by a steeply angled cap. The whole mushroom is blue, but the cap has a slight gradient towards the base, darkening to nearly a navy. If the cap is removed, the underside is even darker, nearly black, and ribbed.
The Tear Bower mushroom originally grew in the northern forests, and some believe it originally only grew on the slopes of the Heart of the World. It requires both cold winters and hot summers in order to germinate, and recently has been seen further south than ever seen before. It prefers to grow on dead animals, and often its spores take root in the fur of various species. If those animals die, some reaction occurs with the spore, and it begins to grow. The mushroom itself will grow, and then die each arc, and will continue to continue this cycle until its root system is destroyed.
Lifespan and Development:
The spores of the plant take root in the fur of various animals. Due to this, they do not attach themselves to reptiles, birds or fish. If the animal dies, the spore begins to grow, and feasts upon the dead flesh. Most of its initial energy is spent growing an intricate root system, or mycellium, and by the time the first hints of a mushroom appear, the mycellium can reach up to a mile away. Any given mycellium can spawn up to two dozen mushrooms per arc, all possessing the traits of the animal it originally grew from. The hot summer seasons allow the mushrooms to flourish, and during the course of the Hot Cycle, the plant grows to its entirety, releases the spores, and begins to die by the end of Saun. The mycellium goes into hibernation until the following Ashan, when it reawakens, and grows another set of mushrooms. The spores that are caught in the fur of the animals can attach themselves to the individual fibres during the Cold Cycle. There is a chemical reaction that occurs, and the two bond together, the spore awaiting its chance. If the animal fails to die by about the end of Cylus, the spore looses its energy, and becomes useless.
The cap is used for making several medicines, and the stalk can be collected and ground up into a spice, creating a very nutty flavour. There has been some recent discoveries into animal-specific mushrooms. Depending on the original host species, it appears that there may be some long-term usage benefits. This is likely due to the very slow release of the mushroom into the body.
The cap of the mushroom can be used in making several sleeping draughts, however it typically takes a long time to be absorbed into the body. The cap must be dried and ground in order to make this, but the grinding process sparks the reaction, and it loses its power within bits if not ingested. Powders are wholly ineffective, and poultices are typically not absorbed fast enough. The cap itself slows the heart rate, and clouds the brain, and the sleep it induces cannot be broken until the remainder of the mushroom has worked its way out of the system.
The entire mushroom, eaten raw and whole, is an effective solution to prevent many stomach aches, however due to the long absorption time, it is rarely useful once the pain has begun, making this effect unknown to many accomplished herbalists.
As noted above, recently several prominent researchers have discovered that the animal that the spores attach to can drastically change its effect. The benefits they have discovered have all been preventative rather than recuperative. At the moment, they have discovered that the fur of carnivores has a tendency to increase the aggression of those who take it regularly, and can act as a small steroid. They have also found that a mushroom growing on a deer, that subjects who regularly take it have an increased sensitivity to sound, and are slightly more nimble.
However, in order to gain these effects, all researchers have agreed that it requires a minimum of two Cycles in order to see the benefits. This can pose an issue, as the mushroom must be taken daily, and as such it is incredibly expensive to do.
Just the handful needed for a sleep draught will often go for 15-20 gn; the single whole plant for the stomach remedy costing 3-5gn, due to the extremely short shelf-life. To truly benefit from a long-term regimen of ingestion for the animal-related benefits, one should expect to pay 500-600 gn over a two-cycle span.