Albero penna cruento
An arboreal, feather-shaped red plant growing in the plains and steppes of the planet Horus.
«Among the most beautiful specimens of the spongegrass prairie flora there must be the feathertrees (three orders in the class Pterygopsida), up to five metres (15 ft) high, wavering in the wind like blood-red banners. The basalmost part of the trunk, bulbous in shape, is quite water-rich, and it's protected from grazers by a number of rather stiff bristles, some up to 30 cm (1 ft) long. When cut with a knife, it reveals a thick pulp vaguely similar to soggy bread, containing the softly beating hearts of the feathertree. The upper part is a thin tube, containing a bundle of lymphatic vessels and covered by a rigid cuticle; this tube is adorned with a few hundreds of long, red leaves attached like the barbs in a bird feather, whence the name.
The structure of the feathertrees is rather simple, and the whole plant is relatively light, rarely weighing more than a couple hundred kilograms; the relatively low mass allows them to live in such an energy-poor environment, and with a foliage hardly optimized to catch sunlight at low latitudes.
The leaves can be easily detached and quickly regrown, allowing feathertrees to withstand the cruelest wind despite their flat shape; in all the area around our camp, the ground is littered with the wilting leaves of the bloody feathertree (Pterygopsis sanguinea), the eponymous species of its class. Other, even more magnificent feathertrees, such as Vexillarbor borealis, are found in the northernmost regions of Bastet, where they exploit their shape to catch the lowlying rays of the subpolar Amun-Ra. These species seem to be able to retract their leaves, pulling them closer to the trunk with muscle-like fibres, whenever a strong wind appears, though the mechanism of detection is still poorly understood.»