|Discovered By||Planetary Surveyors|
The Emperor Bloom is a member of the genus Plena, of the Tuserac family of plants. It is one of many varieties of flowering plants indigenous to Terra with a solitary flower featuring a conical spiral of petals over the pistil. Its vibrant color, strong scent, and long blooming season have earned it a prominent place in Terran culture.
Description and Life Cycle
The mature plant features a single, thick stem with simple, basal, elliptical leaves. When the plant begins preparing to flower, it develops a dark brown husk coated in brown fuzz that averages 15 cm in length. One by one, the Emperor Bloom drops its leaves as its energy is redirected into incubating the blossom. Finally, the husk turns a deep purple and unfurls into a spectacular, three-tiered flower in showy shades of violet.
It blooms during the temperate dry season, when average temperatures reach 25 C. The outer petals of the flower drop off when temperatures begin to average above 32 C. The conical spiral of petals in the center harden and darken as the plant develops its seeds. At the height of the dry season, the pods burst open and hundreds of fluffy seeds are picked up by the late-dry winds and propagated to germinate at the beginning of the wet season.
In 2559, a group of early planetary surveyors came across a field of these flowers on the outskirts of what would later become Prime. Specimens were collected and brought back to the settlement, where they have been cultivated over centuries to maximize flower size, scent, and brightness of color. Today's domestic Emperor Bloom is larger in size than its wild cousins and has a longer flowering time.
The Emperor Bloom has become an unofficial symbol for Terra's natural beauty. It's celebrated on Terra with the Twilight Festival, which is held every year in Vastac at the start of blooming season. The morning of the festival, ships both airborne and aquatic cross the Zaffre Bay from Prime to reach the vast Emperor Bloom reserve. Temporary viewing areas are made available to attendees so they can enjoy the flowers without accidentally trampling them. Food, music and games are featured at the festival, along with an outdoor market where attendees can purchase their own Emperor Blooms. Just after sunset, with a single stroke, the elected chairman of the festival illuminates hundreds of lights that have been staked among the flowers.