The Zifel Plant, also sometimes called “Wizard Weed,” especially around Ximax, is a plant with rare magical properties, allowing the user/mage to have more flexible Xeuá (connections between elements), allowing them to cast spells with much more ease. However, when this effect wears off, the Xeuá becomes more stiff than before and, over time, may even grow brittle, making a break in perpmanent magical effects far more likely. The Zifel Plant is banned from the Ximaxian Academy of Magic for its dangerous after-effects.
Appearance. The Zifel
Plant is known to grow as high as one and a half fores
tall, but not a nailsbreadth higher. Typically they are fairy small and will not
grow higher than about a fore in height. The stalk is a ratjer brownish color,
usually, though new plants have a bright green stalk. Though fairly thick, the
stalk does not grow very high or outward too much, and often time this plant can
appear as a small bush.
However, what these plants lack in height they make up for in the size of their leaves, which can at times grow 1.5 palmspans long. The leaves are typically of chartreuse or a yellowish-green, though some more solid green varieties can be found. The leaves are not very stiff save for the center of the leaf where an inner leaf-stalk keeps the leaf from flopping over. The leaf can sometimes appear rather wrinkly and is quite easy to tear, but also quick to grow back. The leaves may take only a few days to mend up a tear, though growing back whole leafs can be a problem. Leaves grow fairly thick on the plant, often hiding much of the stalk from view. As the plant ages, the dead leaves move inward and downward, becoming easily accessible compost to the plant and to the creatures that may take up residence inside it.
Because of the thickness of the leaves, the Zifel can sometimes be a great home to small bugs, like beetles, and even small rodents like mice, rats, her even small rabbits. The plant provides a sheltered place to hide that remains fairly warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
In spring, small clusters of yellow flowers will appear on the plant, sprouting from places that seemingly had no branch to sprout from. The flowers are very small and clustered in little bundles of four or five, sometimes six. The flowers are hardly two nailsbreadth long and have five petals each, all of which come to delicate points. When summer rolls around these flowers will have turned into Zifel beans, which tend to be about the size of the flowers before them and are kidney-shaped. Like the leaves of the plant they adorn, they are colored chartreuse.
Territory. The Zifel Plant is found most often in small forests or near the perimeter of larger ones. They are commonly seen around mid-Santharian forests and in certain heaths and plains. Forests like the Paelelon and the Istarin provide perfect conditions for these plants to grow, as they seem to enjoy a good deal of shade as compared to most plants. A rather large amount of these plants grow in and around Ximax as plants, often illegally, and the exact amount of plants being kept there is rather unknown, though some authorities believe that there could be hundreds.
Usages. For most, the Zifel holds few usages. The beans they produce in spring are sour tasting and not at all pleasant to eat. The flowers are too small with stems too short to be used to decorate one’s home. The Zifel does not produce any delicious fruit or scrumptious nut. Though the leaves can be easily smoked, they often don’t have the preferred taste or scent as the more popular pipe moss. To most people, the plant is next to useless.
However, in Ximax the plant flourishes where the authorities can’t see. The Zifel plant has often been nicknamed “Wizard Weed”, not only because it is used by mages at the Academy (usually young, stressed students), but because of its magical properties. The leaves of this plant are often rolled up and smoked, or else balled up and chewed. Doing such things makes one’s own Xeuá more flexible, allowing mages to have greater control and ability with their Xeuá, thus making it easier to cast spells.
However, such effects are only temporary, and when the spell of the plant wears off, the smoker or chewer is left with Xeuá that is far stiffer and harder to manipulate or control, making the need for the plant even greater than before. Over time, the Xeuá can also become brittle and may break, which can indeed cause great harm to the user. For such reason, the plant has been strictly banned from the Ximaian Academy of Magic, and use of it can often times lead to one being expelled from the Academy.
Reproduction. The Zifel Plant produces buds in early spring when the winter snow is almost melted away, and around mid-spring, bright yellow clusters of this plant with pop open, sending out pollen to other plants. Around late spring or early summer, the flowers lose their petals and their bases expand to become chartreuse-colored beans. By mid or late spring, these beans are fully developed and, by the time mid-autumn arrives, the beans have fallen to grow into new plants. Zifel will typically live for four or five years, though they typically take at least one year to mature.
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus