TENSIVOLAE II: Arcophylla and Myomotia

The Tensivolae class has further adapted traits unique to it, producing several spectacular groups. In Order Arcophylla, nereophytes have optimized the arrangement of egressor tissues in their reproductive systems, allowing them to launch their seeds far greater distances and with greater precision. Thus, populations can take full advantage of local resources and maintain a healthy genetic diversity.

Order Myomotia is truly alien by terrestrial standards, evolving ancestral pseudomusculature into tissues that nereophytes use to actively twist, lean and pose in order to maximize exposure to sunlight and otherwise interact with their environments. Though evolutionarily young, this clade has managed to find its niche and dominate.

Representative Genera:
Golden Bowstalk

Adapted for harsh seasons of the nereid savannas, species of golden bowstalk form the base of the food chains for these extreme regions. Typically growing to about 75 cm, there are populations that reach as high as two meters, depending on climate, environmental conditions, and genetic proclivity. Each stalk from the plant (which only sprouts a few at a time) has a feathery tip that houses the reproductive apparatus. Once fertilized, the seeds prepare for launch as their cases peel outward, stretching the egressor tissues like bowstrings. The sporadic launches of whole fields are a novelty for terrestial eyes.


Hourglass Palm (hyalostirpes)

Named for the distinctive shape its
 leaves make as they mature, the many species of hourglass palm are familiar sights in tropical regions of Nereus.  But having to compete with other nereophytes in such nutritionally poor biomes as lantern forests means that the hourglass palm must economize.  Only the topmost segments of the palm are living, stretching above dark canopies to drink in sunlight. The lower segments quickly whither and die, leaving behind a lifeless trunk that xenobiologists have discovered to be composed of crystallized hydrocarbons. Until it crumbles, this vitreous column supports the living layers which live as its own epiphyte.


Harpweed (barbitos)

Adorning the floor of the ballerina forest, this genus gets its name from a resemblance to the musical instrument. The plant peels open to reveal a fibrous sheet of elastic tissues. This battery of strings is attached to a row of germinating seeds which, when ripened, detach from the peeled surface and launch into new areas. The cycle continues, with new seeds replacing the old as the stalk grows outward and curl into woody fiddleheads. With the onset of winter, these tiny 'harps' die off, leaving only the tough roots to live into the next year.


Newel Tree (dermacostus)

One of the more ancient groups of Myomotia, newel trees are found primarily in the northern Palissa's isolated ballerina forest. Occasionally called "cobra trees" or "rib trees", these tall nereophytes cut a bizarre skyline as they make their slow diurnal movements. The flexible stalk contains a crisscrossing lattice of pseudomusculature, evolved from ancestral egressor tissue, which allows the trunk to twist and curl along its length. Each segment of the trunk sports a pair of rigid braches, stretching out a photosynthetic skin much like that among Membranophylla, which the tree positions these surfaces for maximum exposure to sunlight.


Coryphee (venustus)

Because of its bright colors and elegant shapes, the coryphee is considered the most beautiful of myomotes. It's slow, dance-like movements are best appreciated through time lapse footage, and have developed in order to capture as much sunlight as its bladed foliage can manage. The soft, flexible trunk is covered with scaly bark that protects it from both predators and dessication, but doesn't inhibit movement. In winter months, when the tree folds up its fronds and lies dormant, a waxy cuticle seeps from between the scales of the trunk, covering the tree in a shell that keeps it alive until spring thaw.


Fen Bowstalk (palustrocaulus)

More succulent than its cousins, fen bowstalk is nevertheless a group of hardy and diverse species. Comparatively shorter, and with a color ranging more copper than gold, it's well suited to moist climates, and thus thrives in swampier regions found throughout the planet's sog basins. Prolific reproducers, species quickly fill their environments, typically around patches of sog, where they can count on a steady supply of water. Some species are so dependent on this water that their seeds lie dormant until flooded by a tear pond, exploding with growth and filling the new swamp with life before it eventually drains away.


Lingayoni (plumareus)

Certain areas of the Vacivus desert are home to patches of hardy lingayoni, so named because of its resemblance to the ancient Hindu symbol. Sheltered in the lee of dunes, cliffs, and other geologic outcroppings, lingayoni send deep taproots to siphon water from underground sources. Over the years the stalk develops a broad leaf that’s equal parts photosynthesizing surface and protection for developing seeds. The reproductive stalk curls out, stretching egressor tissue that, once mature, flings seeds over long distances. Xenobiologists speculate that segment length within the stalk corresponds to environmental conditions, painting a picture of the desert's ecological history.


Treebuchet (iaculator)

The treebuchet, though plagued with controversy surrounding the technical accuracy of its common name, is another example of complex xenobotanical biomechanics. A strong but supple trunk grows skyward, surrounded by golden foliage-bearing fronds. A long, spearlike seedpod known as a javelin develops between them, cradled by egressor tissues that slowly tighten as the trunk and the newest mature front spread apart. Once the javelin is ready it releases, hurling through the air and splitting open to spread its seeds over a wide area. Where conditions are favorable, the trees will sprout into a new oasis in the broad savanna expanses.


Flaywood (ductilovinus)

As with other myomotes, flaywood evokes an alien, nightmarish sentiment in those who study it. Organisms cluster in arrays of tentacular vines, slowly writhing along the ground in search of prey. But flaywood is not strictly carnivorous; it receives nutrition from savanna soils, but early stages of development require more nutrients. Thus flaywood uses its tendrils to whip at nereid passersby, lashing at the skin in the hopes of lodging its seeds in the animal's body. Chemicals within the barbed seed pods slowly break down the victim's flesh and turn it into a usable substrate for new patches of flaywood.