Contrary to its ominous name, the Revenant Tree is actually a subgenus of the Altrucia Tree, an indigenous plant of Terra known for its thick and colorful leaves. Geoengineers introduced fields of Altrucias to Hyperion in an effort to break up the dust storms. Although the project failed, the Altrucia trees adapted to the perpetual wind patterns, shedding its leaves and thickening the wood in the trunk. Botanists initially believed that the Altrucias had died, but on closer inspection, discovered that they were quite alive and thus, the name was born. Average Lifespan: 15-20 SEY.
Altruciatoxin is created by chemically processing the Revenant Tree's pollen. Common effects of ingesting or smoking altruciatoxin include relaxing of the muscles, sensory enhancement, and lethargy. Heavy usage can cause staining of the tongue.
Description and Life Cycle
In contrast to the leafy, colorful altrucia, the revenant tree has coarse, spiny leaves and is dusty brown in color. Its thick, dense bark prevents collected moisture from evaporating in Hyperion’s heat and high winds. Most of its nutrients come from the soil. Because its environment is covered by thick dust clouds for the majority of the year, it goes through long periods of dormancy followed by fast growth phases when exposed to sunlight and water.
Following the brief wet season, the revenant enters its reproductive cycle, directing all of its stored energy towards producing flowers sturdy enough to withstand storm-force winds. The flowers open in the morning and evening. Wind currents pick up the pollen and distribute it to other plants. Once it has been fertilized, the revenant flower becomes a cone and produces seeds that too can be carried by the wind when they reach maturity.
The revenant thrives as a houseplant. Since it grows well under low-light, low-moisture conditions, it can be raised in places that receive little sunlight, such as sealed colonies or spacecraft. If it is over-fertilized and overwatered, its roots may rot or the bark may split and open the inside of the tree to potential infections. For these reasons, a revenant tree is best kept in an ecosphere set to mimic the conditions on Hyperion and prevent overzealous care. Inside the ecosphere, it will go through its full lifecycle. However, it will not successfully reproduce unless it is removed from the ecosphere and purposely exposed to another revenant. Well-tended revenant trees can live for a century or more.
The revenant is cultivated for its pollen which, though illegal under UEE law, can be chemically processed into a prohibited substance called altruciatoxin. Also known as dust, candy, or round off, altruciatoxin is powdered and can be absorbed through the mucus membranes. Those who wish to experience a reduced high may smoke it instead. It causes sensory enhancement, muscular relaxation, and lethargy in its users. Though uncommon, usage of the drug can induce a violent and rarely deadly allergic reaction, especially in those who are already sensitive to pollen.
Wild revenants can be used as a source of water. While the insides of the tree will induce vomiting if eaten raw, if passed through a fine-meshed sieve, the bitter liquid is safely drinkable by Humans and can hydrate in an emergency.