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Ironwood.

The generic name for a genus of trees found on Velor.

The most surprising aspect of Ironwood is not that it can leech iron directly out of the surrounding environment, but that this is a natural ability; the only artificial adaptation forced upon it would appear to be the means to metabolise Velor’s atmosphere.

The iron, once taken is incorporated directly into the tree’s structure to help it survive Velor’s intense sand storms, though the exact method differs between sub-species; the sagegras variety forms the metal into a hexagonal lattice through which its softer fibres grow, while the less common artermere tree forms nodules of iron as armour around its softer core.

A tall tree by Velor’s standards, Ironwood can top a meter naturally and might double that under artificial conditions. Although they appear quite similar when grown in captivity, the environment shapes the two varieties quite radically in the wild.

Sagegras, which is able to withstand direct exposure to the wind and as such takes considerable ablative damage, tends to appear worn or slightly melted and comparisons have been drawn between it and Terrestrial Termite mounds.

Artermere however prefers the more sheltered conditions on the leeside of hills and similar shielding bodies. It has a much more gnarled appearance than Sagegras, although its sheltered conditions also cause it to be thinner and more willowy. The armour nodules grow in response to environmental damage with particularly windswept specimens hard to recognise as organic. When infected with a certain disease the tree develops a disease where it completely encapsulates itself, forming a single giant Iron ‘crystal’ which the ferrophilic bacteria then feeds upon.

Both varieties derive sustenance from the ground and photosynthesis via thin leaves which can be positioned perpendicular to the body, or held flat against it to protect them from the wind.

Ironwood is surprisingly easy to cultivate and sagegras is commercially farmed with the resulting lumber primarily used for decorative purposes. It is rarely used as a building material as even mature trees are rarely tall enough to provide substantial planks and the resulting lumber is extremely heavy. Artermere has only a small market and is usually sold in bonsai form.

Ironwood can be found anywhere large iron deposits are easily accessible with the largest natural forests located along the force lines of the Fergus Dessert.

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