Pao lan tree

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The pao lan tree is quite rare, but one of the more deadly forms of plant life in the Strand.

The tree is roughly cylindrical. Its topmost branches are a vivid green, but travelers generally see only the lowest branches which are dry and brittle, trailing on the ground like willow fronds.

Pao lan trees prefer marshy environments. As they age, a layer of compost forms near them which tempts travelers with dry, firm footing. However, any disturbance to the tree results in a violent shedding of branches. An unwary traveler brushing against a pao lan frond may find himself pinned beneath two to five branches, each up to twenty centimeters thick.

The bark of the pao lan tree and the soil about it is extremely caustic, causing weeping sores in human flesh within minutes. Victims of pao lan trees generally lose consciousness after a few hours and are dead within a day. After a week, nothing remains of the tree's unfortunate victim.

Mature pao lan trees generally host hives of zing bugs and mounds of marsh beetles, as they protect these pests from their natural predators.