Ponsonby's Velvet

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Ponsonby's Velvet
Base Information
Classification Autotroph
Terrain Unknown
Locomotion Sessile
Size Small
Speed 0.0 kph (Sessile)
Strength n/a
Social Structure Large groups (groves)
Weapons None
Armor None
Source
Homeworld Ponsonby Beta
Multi-world Yes
Canon No
Extinct Extant
Reference Journal of the Travellers Aid Society No. 20
Ponsonby's Velvet is a quasi-fungal plant native to Ponsonby Beta, a sparsely colonized world of the Solomani Rim, off the jump routes, and most charts.

Physiology and ecology[edit]

Ponsonby's Velvet hangs in sheets from the local "trees," rather like terrestrial Spanish Moss.

The plant resembles a heavy and very rich velvet cloth, with an attractive sheen; the host tree seems to be hung with tapestries (on Ponsonby, Velvet is sometimes referred to as the "Rich Banner Plant").

It is as strong as cloth; and since it grows free for the taking, Ponsonby's colonists have made it their principal clothing material. Natural colors range from a pale tan (the commonest) to a deep green and a blood red (the most prized). Velvet may be colored with vegetable dyes, but synthetic dyes will poison the plant, causing it to disintegrate.

Life Cycle and reproduction[edit]

Velvet reproduces by spores, which form on the surface of the plant and drop away to be blown by the wind. The spore clusters resemble lint, and a person unfamiliar with the plant may assume they are lint. If a spore lands where food is available, it will grow. And velvet can use just about any organic carbon molecule as food.

The velvet normally sporulates in Ponsonby's spring season, but exposure to varied environments (as when space travelling) may alter the cycle. A garment may "go lint" at any time.

Diet and trophics[edit]

An photosynthetic autotroph

History and background[edit]

While Ponsonby does not trade actively with other worlds, velvet clothing sometimes finds its way off-world, usually single items bartered for by starship crewmembers.

All of which leads to a problem. Velvet reproduces by spores, which form on the surface of the plant and drop away to be blown by the wind. The spore clusters resemble lint, and a person unfamiliar with the plant may assume they are lint.

If a spore lands where food is available, it will grow. The velvet can use just about any organic carbon molecule as food including bearing lubricants, garbage, and petrochemical fuels.

Imagine a rag stuffed into your car's intake manifold (fortunately, the spore clusters are too large to be readily inhaled, and if ingested, digestive fluids will destroy them).

Travellers' Aid Society Advisory[edit]

Enough Ponsonby clothing will eventually enter circulation for the authorities to become aware of the hazard; for now, it is too rare to require action.

References and contributors[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.