Amazing Future Tales
Mandolarian Shag Fern
Discovered by Oskar Mandolar, one of Absalom‘s preeminent pioneers in xenobotany, the Mandolarian shag fern is a hybrid of Terran umbrella fern and a native Absalomish stinging nettle. Nematocysts cover the pinnae of the fronds, and the shag fern exudes a pheromone that attracts small herbivores. Toxins delivered by the nematocysts paralyze and eventually kill small herbivores, and the shag fern’s rhizome uses specialized root fibers to siphon nutrients from the decaying animal.
Recent data collected by Camp Goodall indicates that the shag fern maybe mutating to no longer feed on decaying animal matter, but instead draw nutrients from byproducts produced other organisms that hasten decomposition.
Mandolarian shag fern toxin is potent enough to produce nausea, dizziness, and vomiting in humans. Sufficient exposure could result in unconsciousness and respiratory failure. Fortunately, the plant’s nematocysts lack much penetrating power. Sturdy clothing is sufficient protection.