Flora of the Mwangi Expanse
Bright green, with pale golden quills, this semi-animate plant has the unusual ability to move via a series of bounding hops when threatened with danger. Once a cactus bulb makes a single ten-foot hop, its flexible roots need a day to slowly refold in preparation for another jump. Yet for those who have received a face full of needles, one such jump is more than enough.
The Mwangi Expanse holds a wealth of carnivorous plant life. Fortunately, not all of it is large enough to feed on humans. The snappervine is one such growth. Coiling thick around the lower limbs of trees, each length of snappervine ends in a voracious mouth capable of snapping up passing insects with blinding accuracy.
While the giant flytrap is a well-known swamp hazard, many don’t realize how many variants of this voracious plant exist. The monkeyvise is a smaller cousin to the larger swamp-dwelling flytrap, a tangled set of vines that grows low to the ground, its jaws open and presenting delicious-looking fruits to tempt passing, appetizing monkeys to their doom.
The bizarre whisperlily grows upon waters tainted with strange magic. Relatively rare, these eerie lily pads grow frighteningly realistic facial features, such as eyes, teeth, and tongues. Although carnivorous, they generally do not grow large enough to pose a threat to any creature larger than a frog, fish, or songbird.
Sweet Carcass Squash
Notable for having the sickly sweet stench of a ripe corpse, the sweet carcass squash is a charauka delicacy. Growing to nearly the size of a halfling, a sweet carcass squash can weigh up to a hundred pounds. The inside of this slimy vegetable consists of thick coils of greasy tubers that look not unlike coils of animal entrails. The flavor of the sweet carcass squash, unfortunately, does not appeal to most civilized palates.
Said to grow on certain ancient graves in the most remote corners of Pharasma’s Boneyard, the dark fungus known as midnight spores normally appears as nothing more than smears of black dust. Particularly ancient patches can grow into wispy filaments that look like hair. The spores themselves have strange effects upon the minds of those unfortunate enough to inhale them.
The variety of fungus found in the Darklands is truly incredible, rivaling the variety of flora in the most fecund of jungles. The mushrooms known commonly as gnome caps are among the most common fungi in these deep realms. Sporting pointed caps of wildly varying colors, gnome caps are quite edible and have a pleasing, earthy flavor. These delectable mushrooms are at the base of the food chain in many Darklands environments.
The majority of the fungi foundin the Darklands are nasty at best, and dangerous or deadly at worst. The pallid puffballs known as stinkpods fall into the first category. While not deadly, the noxious fumes they exude have been known to make even the foulest mannered dwarf blanch and vomit. Of course, stink pod sniffing contests are quite popular among many lower class dwarves.
An unusual fungus variety found in the Darklands, splintermold seems innocuous, but it hides a hidden danger. Growing among the stalactites hanging from cavern ceilings, splintermold feeds on minerals dissolved in water, sending tiny tendrils into the rock in search of sustenance. The resulting cracks weaken the stalactites, causing them to fall at the slightest vibration, such as from the footfalls of creatures below.
This disturbing Darklands growth takes on a life of its own, quite literally, in fact. Its spores infect subterranean spiders and other vermin, replacing their living tissue with its own fungal tendrils. Naturally, this kills the creature, but the fungus then animates the lifeless body, propelling it through the Darklands in search of more food for the insidious fungus lurking inside.