From Dragon
Jump to: navigation, search

Gingbaklo (aka strangling demon's ringlet) is a slender parasitic red-pigmented vine native to the Strand which climbs other plants and takes nutrition directly from them via a haustorium. The gingbaklo resembles a pile of light yellow to orange-red thready straw or stiff yarn wrapped tightly around its host plant. It is mostly stem; the leaves are reduced to minute rudimentary scales on the stem's surface. In early summer it bears clusters of tiny yellowish bell-shaped flowers with five pointed triangular lobes which are only about one-third of a cùn wide. The gingbaklo reproduces by seed, with each plant capable of producing over 10,000 seeds at once. The seeds have a hard coating, and can survive in the soil for 5–10 years or more.

Gingbaklo seeds sprout at or near the surface of the soil. While gingbaklo germination can occur without a host, it has to reach a green plant quickly; gingbaklo grows toward the smell of nearby plants. If a plant is not reached within 5 to 10 days of germination, the gingbaklo seedling will die.

After a gingbaklo attaches itself to a plant, it wraps itself around it. If the host contains food beneficial to gingbaklo, the gingbaklo produces haustoria that insert themselves into the vascular system of the host. The original root of the gingbaklo in the soil then dies. The gingbaklo can grow more or less continuously and attach itself to multiple plants, and may reach high into the canopy. Gingbaklo is parasitic on a very wide variety of plants, including a number of important crops, most notably tomatoes and soybeans.

Most kingdoms have laws prohibiting import of gingbaklo seed, but enforcement varies considerably. When dealing with an infested area, swift action is necessary. Recommendations include planting a non-host plant such as sorghum or teff for several years after the infestation, and pulling up host crops immediately, particularly before the gingbaklo produces seed. If gingbaklo is found before it chokes a host plant, it may be simply removed from the soil. If choking has begun, the host plant must be pruned significantly lower than the gingbaklo, as gingbaklo is versatile and can grow back from haustoria if present.

Despite harsh potential criminal penalties, gingbaklo seed is a commonly smuggled item, as its value to herbalists is tremendous. The list of classic formulas that require or are strongly enhanced by gingbaklo seed is seemingly endless. It is one of the most versatile ingredients in the repertoire, having value in sedatives, stimulants, tranquilizers, restoratives, antivenins, purgatives, prophylactics, and some say even lifespan extension.