Pseudotaxites is a genus of fungi, which contains the largest fungi known to Tepat, and produce the largest fruit bodies of any known fungus. The largest claimed fungus is an unconfirmed specimen of possibly 8 meters, making it equal to some trees, but 2 to 3-meter high fruit bodies are more usual.
Pseudotaxites form mycorrhizal relationships with forest trees. Instead of killing off the host tree like a parasite, the mycorrhizal partner helps it grow better by extending the tree’s root network, and absorbing nutrients that are difficult for trees to absorb. Species differ in the range of tree hosts that they favor. They tend to fare thrive most in deep woods where a large number of trees of the same species live. However, similar to Earth’s honey fungus, it forms thick rhizomorphs that can travel long distances through the soil to find other tree roots, and it usually partners with a number of trees.
Because it extends, rather than curtails, the life of its tree friends, it has all the time in the world to attempt the long-term project of building a massive above-ground structure. Unlike most fungi which produce a number of small mushrooms over the surface of its mycelium, Pseudotaxites concentrates on producing a single large, long-lived fruit body. Like tree polypores, they have a tough woody texture.
The typical Pseudotaxites fruit body appears as a column. They are perennial, adding new spore layers each year, in a manner like tree growth rings. The young fungus is somewhat tender. At this stage, it is edible, although it usually is not eaten. With age, the fungal tissue becomes harder, like wood, while only the newest, outermost tissue is tender. The inside of the column is hollow to conserve tissue, while the outside surface is covered with spore-bearing projections. The shape of these spore surface vary with species.
Pseudotaxites are so dominant in part because they release chemicals with antibiotic properties, or which inhibit the growth of other fungi. This protects its trees from parasitism by other microorganisms and clears the way for Pseudotaxites’ own growth as well. It also underlies the use of tea from Pseudotaxites (PseudotaxiTEA?) in folk medicine.
Pseudotaxites is still common in northern regions, but has declined in Tepat along with the decline of forests with large, old trees, and hence most people have never seen one. Tepatic culture also tends to be mycophobic - the obsolete class of priests were forbidden to eat mushrooms, and the attitude against them has persisted. Mycorrhizal relationships are poorly understood, and so the fungi infecting roots are all thought to be parasitic, and attempts to eradicate them have further weakened forests.
Hi, I wondered if you know how the Shoot Apical Meristem of Isoetes is structured? And further what kind of pretty variegated leaf patterns one could make when I replace a part of that meristem with e.g. a white mutation? Because for example the related Selaginella gives a flying fuck about a stratified meristem and has just two cells happily making the shoot.
anon i know of only one (1) book that goes into some amount of detail about isoetes meristems, and that’s Biology and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes edited by Tom A. Ranker and Christopher H. Haufler, with the chapter on meristems being by Ryoko Imaichi. this book is a newer one in terms of fern and lycophyte stuff (published in 2008 by cambridge) and it haunts me because i was going through it when i was writing my isoetes paper last year and came across this on pages 96 and 97:
“The Isoëtaceae rhizomorph is another root-producing organ. It shows anatomical features common to the Carboniferous Lepidodendrid rhizomorph (Karrfalt, 1984; Stewart and Rothwell, 1993). Roots are formed by the activity of the basal meristem. The basal meristem is an enigma, and has been interpreted as a primary meristem, or as a cambium, or a part of a cambium (Paolillo, 1982, and references therein). However, recent detailed examinations of the initiation and growth of the root primordia from the basal meristem, and embryonic roots of Isoëtes species show that the basal meristem has both organogenetic (primary) and thickening (secondary) meristem attributes (Yi and Kato, 2001). The basal meristem does not correspond to any known meristem in other vascular plants.
Rhizomorphs and rhizophores are sometimes compared, but the Selaginella rhizophore and the Isoëtes rhizomorph show differences in: (1) initiation pattern (exogenous or endogenous origin), (2) growth pattern (definite versus indefinite growth), (3) meristem structure (dome shaped with apical cell versus linear basal meristem with a layer of thin initials), and (4) number of roots produced (two versus many per apex) (Yi and Kato, 2001). The evolutionary relationships of these two root-producing organs, which are unique to the heterosporous ligulate lycopods, need further developmental studies. “
now, given, this all is about the basal meristem, not the shoot apical meristem. the book gives us a lot less info on the shoot, except for showing them developing with two cells similar to Selaginella, then noting on page 90 that within the family Isoetaceae, the genus Isoetes doesn’t branch while the genus Stylites does (note: technically there are only two genuses in the Isoetaceae family, with Isoetes being one and Stylites being the other, BUT there’s been a lot of debate as to whether or not Stylites really needs to be a genus of it’s own, and as a result some stuff will just flat out just not consider it one. as far as i know this has not been resolved). as for the white mutation; i don’t know enough about that as of now to make a guess at what would happen, but i mean. mutated isoetes
i’m writing this quick between classes so i can’t go through this chapter with a fine toothed comb, i’d recommend finding a copy if you want to look into it more (mine is from my university’s library).
On urban underworlds; the “urban” consumes ‘nature” and then hides the bodies:
Technological networks (water, gas, electricity, information etc.) are constitutive parts of the urban. They are the mediators through which the perpetual process of transformation of nature into city takes place. [...] However, urban networks have not always been opaque. Along with their ‘urban dowry’ — water towers, dams, pumping stations, power plants, gas stations etc. — they have undergone important historical changes in their visual role and their material importance in the cityscape. In particular, during the early stages of nineteenth-century modernization, urban networks and their connecting iconic landmarks were prominently visual and present. When the urban became constructed as agglomerated use values that turned the city into a theatre of accumulation and economic growth, urban networks became the iconic embodiments of and shrines to a technologically scripted image and practice of progress. Once completed, the networks became buried underground, invisible, rendered banal and relegated to an apparently marginal, subterranean urban underworld. […]
Myths of modernization and progress: [...] By the late nineteenth century, ‘social reformers’ worked hand in hand with engineers to construct a better and sanitized world. The early threat imposed by the introduction of technology gradually begins to give way to a ‘new deal’ between man and technology. […] The late nineteenth-century fascination with technological myths and urban utopias was paralleled by an increasing importance of the state’s role as a facilitator of growth and promoter of technological change and innovation. […] The process of sanitizing and cleansing the city equally moves from the sphere of the public to the private and domestic. The rapid spread of private bathrooms by the 1920s,‘medicated’ (chlorinated) domestic water supply, and the requirement for a water closet in Britain in 1936 signals this process of domestication. […]
High modernity crusaded towards clarity, towards veiling what lay underneath the city. The rhizomorphous underground networks, which ceaselessly transform nature into city, became an underground city that veiled the failure of modernization to create a better society. The ideal city, the new utopia, was clean and sanitized, both in visual and literary terms. […] However, no matter how sanitized and clean, both in symbolic and literary terms, our cities have become, the ‘urban trash’ in the form of networks, dirt, sewerage, pipes, homeless people etc. keeps lurking underneath the city, in the corners, at the outskirts, bursting out on occasion in the form of rats, disease, […], garbage piles, polluted waters, floods, bursting pipes etc. They remain stubborn reminders of the materiality of the networked city, while threatening the city’s existence. Despite the quest for clarity, purity and ‘sanity’ that was prominent throughout high modernity (or, rather, precisely because of this quest), the underlying contradictions of urban life, the ones that actually make it possible for clarity to exist, i.e. the urban ‘trash’ and underlying invisible networks, both inorganic (sewerage, water pipes) and organic (homeless people), become gradually more prominent. The dystopian underbelly of the city that at times springs up in the form of accumulated waste, dirty water, pollution or social disintegration, produces a sharp contrast when set against the increasingly managed clarity of the urban environment. The contradictions are becoming difficult to be contained or displaced. [...]
Despite efforts to manage and control the city, it remains a realm carved out of the dialectics between clean and dirty, justice and injustice, underworld and high society, basements and lofts, Hell and Heaven. In fact, Heaven can establish itself as such only by contradistinction to a certain Hell. The urban paradise needs to exploit organic and inorganic, human and non-human urban trash in order to sustain itself, and urban trash permits the existence of the urban, dwelling at its margins or underneath its soil.
Maria Kaika and Erik Swyngedouw. “Fetishizing the Modern City: The Phantasmagoria of Urban Technological Networks.” March 2000.
In Today’s Magic Story...
The Gathering Storm: Chapter Two
Last time, Niv Mizzet got an idea! From Bolas! What could go wrong? This time, we got some Golgari stuff going down!
A midden is a dunghill or dump, usually of organic material.
Offal are entrails and internal organs used for food.
This first paragraph is a symphony! God I missed descriptive language!
Aha! We’re following Jarad here! Before his inevitable demise, I presume.
The Golgari really have it all. Bio-luminescent fungi for lights, couches covered in soft moss... That’s what’s separates them from Selesnya: Selesnya will just squat in a tree, while the Golgari will find a practical and beautiful use for every fungi for interior decoration.
Each planter was a corpse, or sometimes several corpses, carefully propped, cut, and arranged to promote the growth of some particular species of fungus.
I’m imagining Golgari growing competitions, where they’re judged not just on the fungi they grow, but also judge the corpse-planter.
“While Devesh’s latticed stinkhorn was the most lively, it wasn’t enough to make up for their disheveled corpse. Cevraya’s, on the other hand, was very well done. They guided the rhizomorphs to hold the corpse in place, freezing it in a pose of longing anguish. The planter and the fungus compliment one another, perfectly encompasing the cycle of life and death.” -- Excerpt from a Golgari Fungi competition, probably.
Here a man sat with his legs crossed, head tipped back, vast yellow-white stalk growing out of his eyes; beside him a woman arched her back, her chest sectioned and peeled back to allow delicate blue fronds to reach up from her heart. Some of the fungi were so large and solid they grew around their hosts, leaving faces and limbs to jut out of quivering masses of gray-white flesh.
I didn’t read ahead and I was 100% right. Now I need to make a Golgari D&D character who wants to create the best rot sculpture ever.
Cilia is a very odd thing to call your inner council, especially when cilium are the hair-like things in your lungs.
Reminder that the Erstwhile serving Jarad & the Cilia here were raised by Mazirek to overthrow him. They’re playing the long con, I see...
Oh hey, Storrev! She’s on a card! What was ordered sealed, the door? Why would you want to seal it, Jarad? Hiding from a certain petrifying someone?
Cold Iron is a thing in Ravnica. Good against fae.
By god! That’s Vraska’s music!
And she brought her cutlass with her! You go, pirate queen!
Vraska walking in with her kraul allies. Time for retribution.
Blue and red facepaint, Jarad? Seriously? You’re in the Golgari, not Izzet.
"Vraska," he snarled. "I do not recall summoning you. Nor asking you to break down my door."
"And here I am, nevertheless," Vraska said. "Funny, that."
We missed you so much!!!
The elves are scrambling out of the way, but the Erstwhile are staying at the ready. Looks like Jarad doesn’t have any allies in the room whatsoever. Courtesy of Nicol Bolas no doubt.
"Someone kill her," Jarad drawled.
You can just feel the laziness oozing out of him.
Ooh, the tattoos mean something! I wonder if different grades of blademaster have different insects, or if the type of mantis tattoo dictates which rank you are. Like at each level, more of it is added on.
Dang, Mazirek! Just melting someone so that only a skeleton remains! Shame you were somehow a pawn of Bolas. Still waiting for an explanation on that.
It’s rare for Kraul to be telepathic.
Really, Jarad? Wigs on the Erstwhile? Was that really necessary? And give the ladies more substantial clothes, you monster.
Jarad’s already dead, though at this point I assume people just use ‘kill’ for zombies and other undead just out of simplicity.
Jarad already throwing out racist remarks with ‘bug’. I’m glad we get to see him perish.
"Respect will do you very little good when you're rotting in my garden." Jarad grinned, bright and unhinged. "But enough of this! Put aside your grievances, and I will make you—"
Vraka lashed out, a fast punch that caught Jarad on the nose with a solid crunch. He staggered backward, blood streaming over his upper lip.
Ahhhh. Jarad turned back to Vraska, and now there was panic in his eyes. She drank it in like nectar. His mouth worked, hands clutching at his robe
"You still won't get away with it," he muttered. "Enjoy your little victory. The rest of the elves—"
"Have Erstwhile servants," Vraska said. "Don't they?"
This deserves an award. The Most Glorious ‘F*ck You’ Moment Award.
Jarad, why do you have a collar? Nevermind, I don’t want to know. You’re a statue now. And soon to be rubble, probably.
Ooh! Kaya story!
A bas-relief is a relief with a shallow depth.
Wow, Orzhov security is worse than the Izzet’s. Then again, there’s the flavor text for Cyclopean Snare:
The spoiled, gluttonous halls of the Orzhov teem with gaudy, needless wealth. Even their security measures are made for beauty first, efficiency second.
Reminder that the Golgari are in charge of agriculture. That pear you’re eating? Probably grown from dear ol’ uncle bob.
Do you know what I want to see in the next core set? An Origin’s style set for enemy-colored walkers.
We don’t know anything ‘bout where Kaya’s from, apart from the fact that she’s from a noble family. And now that she’s been sliding through barriers most her life.
I’d like to see the first plane Ral planeswalked to. Maybe Kaladesh? Or speaking of which, where did Saheeli Rai go?
We don’t know much about the first plane Vraska planeswalked to, other than it was dark. I’m sure one of the Ixalan stories also mentioned she was imprisoned there too, but that may have been because she needed to master planeswalking.
Where did Kiora first planeswalk to? What gigantic beasts did she see? Did she go to Naya?
What about Nahiri? I’d suggest Huatli, but we know her story for the most part. It’d still be neat to see her on Kaladesh though.
Anyways, back to the story!
It’s nice comparing the decadence of the Golgari to that of the Orzhov. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.
The first rule of mercenary work was "never trust the client," and that was doubly true in the case of Nicol Bolas.
Like you trusted Emilio Revari at first?
OOH! Kaya’s plane has a broken sky!
Kaya needs new contacts if they insisted Nicol F*cking Bolas was trustworthy.
Kaya is the kind of assassin who’d leave you a letter detailing how pitiful your security was.
Gargoyles, despite being made of stone, can be silenced by jamming your fist down their throat. I’m going to chalk this up to ‘Orzhov spending money on realistic gargoyle statues.’
Dang, Kaya’s a professional! Carrying bandages with her to use on the job!
Typically, though, they didn't live—or continue to exist, or whatever—long enough to spread the lesson around, since they usually had few defenses against a foot of cold steel in their ghostly hearts.
Thank you Kaya, for being as confused as I am when referring on killing/destroying undead.
Rescue mission accomplished! Teysa is saved!
I think ‘mutual friend’ refers to Bolas here. Kaya’s being evasive about who it is, and as Bolas did direct Kaya to free Teysa, he would technically count as a mutual friend.
Later on in the story, Teysa knows she’s working with Bolas, but doesn’t want Tomik to know. And now we know another, if not the, reason Teysa didn’t want to see Kaya. Guilt, perhaps. Or just snubbing her because a war wasn’t what she wanted.
Teysa’s worried about the legalese of killing the Obzedat, while Kaya thinks she means the difficulty of killing ghosts.
More info on Kaya! Her family relationships are “complicated”.
"Let's not kill me off just yet." Kaya scratched her nose thoughtfully.
Yeah, it’s not as if you’re Dack Fayden. Aw, too soon?
Twisted Stem inn. Another location, one where Tomik frequents. I wonder if he and Ral--
Ah, another excellent story from Django Wexler! The Ghost Council get to live -- er, unlive? -- another day, but Jarad is dust! Great action scenes (which I’m not the best at commenting on) and great scenery, it was wonderful!
We got rot gardens! Fungus lights! Corpse planters! Lungs! Erstwhile! Splintering doors! A true pirate queen! Decadence! Laziness! Rot slime & skeletons! Punching right in the face! Uprising servants! Secrets! Revenge! Ostentatious & useless security! More decadence! Not trusting clients! Broken skies! Gargoyles! Professionalism! Contracts! Killing ghostly grandfathers! Murder plots! Inns!
And it looks like we won’t be getting any story for Core 2020, so... um...
When will the next Announcement Day be??? Stay tuned!