Quite a bit of time has passed since the last edition of the Wildlife Files, but rest easy, fans and Tribune readers, because Atelloune is back and better than ever! Have you been good, animal-loving boys and girls while I was away? If you have never heard of me by some odd fluke, you should read previous issues of the Tribune and sharpen your education.
We shall leave re-introductions at that and start today's column with a letter from an Elvaan named Boku.
Several weeks ago, I was wandering around quite lost in Jugner Forest when a giant beast of a tree began attacking me! I barely escaped with my life. Thanks to that creature, I've since tossed and turned through many a sleepless night. The beast chases me with soulless eyes and feasts on my bones in my nightmares. It is a plant, yes? So why does it move? Why do they attack people? Please enlighten me with your vast banks of wildlife knowledge.
Marvelous questions! You shall know everything there is to know about treants after reading this column! Treants are a member of the plantoid family. Different types grow in different regions, such as the leshy and greenman varieties. Worry not, as I have not given up my job as a wildlife expert to become a plant expert. My expertise covers everything that moves!
Moving on, I shall read a highly relevant excerpt from Professor Clavauert's new publication, "The Complete Illustrated Guide to Vana'diel Wildlife." The writing is quite fast-paced, but please try your best to follow along!
"Fun Fact No. 108: Treants are members of the "mobile plant" family!
Treants remind many people of animals as they move around searching for prey. The wondrous varieties of plants that are able to move thanks to certain super-developed organs are called "mobile plants." But did you know that treants are only active for a limited period of time? In fact, they spend most of their time rooted firmly in the soil, quietly soaking up the sun's rays with their green leaves for photosynthesis like normal plants!"
Fascinating, is it not? There are such creatures in nature that refuse to fit conveniently into any clear-cut category. Those who are too bugard-headed to believe that such a thing can exist, please come to my laboratory and see for yourselves. I will educate every last one of you!
Well then, shall we take a look at the diagram?
Marvelous, marvelous! So many popular plantoids together in one place! With this, even a child could understand how a plantoid moves!
Silence now, all of you! Contain your excitement! Now, those of you who knew that this darling little sapling is actually a treant, raise your hands!
Okay, that will do. I will teach you more about saplings along the way, so I will take no questions now. Now be good boys and girls and wait patiently.
Let's shift back to treants, shall we? Plantoids of the polyroot variety are distinguished by the way they use their many legs to shuffle about. However, these "legs" are actually plant organs that continue to grow for a certain period of time. In the case of treants, their roots evidently develop into limbs that function as legs.
Perhaps you are wondering why treants do not die when their roots are removed from the soil. A normal plant would certainly not last long after being pulled up. But why do you think treants move? Because just like people, that's how they find food!
While we're on the subject, let us answer another question. Why do treants desire nourishment from prey rather than remaining satisfied with photosynthesis and their roots? Hm? Does no one know? The answer is "reproduction"! Now, now, there is no reason to blush!
Is everyone with me now? Most of the time, treants lay their roots down in the ground, just like trees, and absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Then, at a certain stage of life, the treant is pollinated and prepares for the birth of numerous saplings. Much nutrition is required for this stage, and the treant begins its hunt for more. Why can't they manage by themselves like other plants? Aha, that brings me to my next point!
I suppose I must show you this special supplement from the "The Complete Illustrated Guide to Vana'diel Wildlife." Professor Clavauert brings tears to my eyes. His books are far superior to all other wildlife encyclopedias…
This diagram shows the treant's growth periods, including the distension stage. Nodes form beside the creature's eyes and mouth. See the two babyish faces? They look familiar, do they not? They will soon become saplings!
And those are the basics of treant reproduction.
When treants reproduce, nodes form on their trunks. When the nodes become fully developed, they break off from the treant and become saplings. The saplings then leave to find land where they can grow. They lack the developed organs of their parents, but can't lay their roots into the ground just yet either. So instead, they journey, feeding off and gradually using up the amount of water and nutrition left by their parents inside of their bulbous bodies.
The lifestyle of a sapling seems like quite a feat. However, sometimes a sapling will use up all of its reserves and starve before it finds another source of nutrition, and others are viciously slaughtered by adventurers. Unfortunately, only a handful of saplings survive their journey to adulthood. All right, which one of you is crying? It is a shame that they cannot survive simply by being brave and adorable, but that is simply how the world of nature operates.
Blow your noses and let's move on, now. Let us refer to the professor's side notes and resolve all other questions.
"Germination Stage: The sapling ends its wandering period, lays its roots down in the soil, and begins to grow. Only a very few fortunate saplings find an ideal area for growth before depleting their nutrient reserves."
According to research, only one in a hundred saplings survives to the germination stage.
"Growth Stage: After germinating, the sapling grows by absorbing nutrients and water through its roots and soaking up the sun's rays for photosynthesis, just like a common tree."
At this stage, the creature is not yet a treant. Like a sapling, its charming eyes are still shut tight. Its mouth is also still not fully formed.
"Parent Stage: After pollination, the former sapling reverts quite remarkably into a mobile plant. During this time, the creature's optical organs become fully developed and begin acting as the treant's eyes. Its chewing organ, connected to its digestive glands, also begins to fulfill the role of the creature's mouth. Then the creature pulls up its roots and becomes a carnivore, shuffling around in its unique style in search of prey."
This is the stage that residents of Vana'diel imagine when they describe treants as fearsome monsters.
"Hibernation Stage: After the nodes break off from the treant's trunk, the creature lays its roots into the soil again to prepare for reentry into the parent stage. During this stage, the treant is no different from an ordinary tree. Loggers sometimes joke about hearing a cry after felling a tree with a hatchet, and realizing that the "tree" was actually a treant, but such tales are merely exaggeration."
So now we see that treants return to the form of normal trees while awaiting their next parent stage. Actually, I have tried to research treants during the hibernation stage, but I could not tell the difference between treants and regular trees.
Well, I hope that all that answered the original question. The road from a helpless sapling to a majestic treant is laced with difficulties. So please look out for the little guys. If not, one may grow big and gobble you up!
...And on that note, I would like to wrap up this column. Here is your answer in a nutshell!
Treants move around in search of prey in order to reproduce and provide reserves of water and nutrients for their offspring. This is the treant version of a water bottle and pail lunch. The love of a parent is a powerful force!