written as a public access exploration by Syphogrant Kiana
The Astral Sea does not have much to research in terms of vegetation, which is a widely known fact. There's no wonder then as to why us researchers of everything foreign take a keen interest in otherworldly flora. Following this invitation to write our research on the Elemental Plane of Fire by the Executive Tribunal, I write this short article with the purpose of correcting a common misconception: There is, in fact, vegetation in the Elemental Plane of Fire.
To some people, this might sound tremendously counterintuitive. Of course, there is no flora like the one we might expect from other existential planes. Regular plant cells will burst and wither when exposed to such tremendous heat. However, researchers have found quite a few remarkable structures that have made us take a step back into the philosophical aspect of elemental planes. In other words, to accurately understand how the Elemental Fire's vegetation works, let us ask ourselves: what, exactly, is a plant?
In every world there are cycles of renewal with indigenous species working the “land” (whichever applicable meaning this word might have), and, therefore, degrading it. The Plane of Elemental Fire is no exception to this rule. In every other ecosystem vegetation acts as a way to renew the elements from the environment by synthesizing them into different compounds. In the Prime Material Plane, for example, vegetation takes carbon dioxide and turns it into oxygen as a byproduct of its nourishment. Here, in the Astral Sea, certain stars and astral bodies host quantum processes that turn the otherwise inhospitable void into a rich atmosphere where life can grow (somewhat). Elemental Fire is not exempt to this pattern of nature.
Recent discoveries conducted by the Society have detected large, ashen structures resembling, much to the researchers’ surprise, trees of the Fraxinus genus in the Prime Material Plane. Recovery of samples from these “Ash trees” has been infructuous given their relatively elevated temperatures, even put in the context of their ecosystem, scoring in the thousands of degrees. However, even from afar we can infer much from their appearance and surroundings. Extremely large, reaching as high as 1 mile in height with a diameter of several hundred feet, these structures emanate heat in the form of hyper-heated embers from several long, relatively thin limbs (one might think of these as “branches”).
One significant theory (developed by yours truly, might I add) is that these structures, with their fiery, petal-like embers, actually “feed” off and renew the “colder” materials in the soil and atmosphere by absorbing it and then imbuing this matter of primal fire energy. Could this mean these Ash Trees are a direct link to the primordial flame? Could there be more structures like these across the plane? It is still too early on to tell, but many academics have become interested in these specimens… not to mention the artists from the Choir once these results were published, inspiring hundreds of depictions of these trees.