Floating Island Greatgrass

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Floating Island Greatgrass
(Magnopratum altus)
Main image of Floating Island Greatgrass
Species is extant.
CreatorDisgustedorite Other
HabitatDriftwood Islands Chaparral, Driftwood Islands Tropical Woodland, Driftwood Islands Temperate Woodland, Driftwood Islands Tropical Lakes, Driftwood Islands Temperate Lakes
Size4 meters tall
Primary MobilitySessile
RespirationPassive (Stomata)
ReproductionSexual (Male and Female, Spores, Cone, Airborne Eggs), Asexual (Budding)
Phoenophyta (info)
Magnopratum altus

The Floating Island Greatgrass replaced its ancestor and outcompeted the Raft-Building Cone Puffgrass in its range. Though the smaller grasses continue to contribute to the formation of new islands, once the islands have gotten large enough to support the greater biomes, the Floating Island Greatgrass can establish itself and quickly outshades the smaller grasses, leaving them to only exist on the banks. Evolving in an arms race with itself and with predators, it can grow very fast and very tall, reaching as great as 4 meters in height when not grazed lower. Its average height considering grazing as a factor is closer to just 1 meter. It can be likened to the Terran elephant grass, which is also very large but otherwise pretty traditionally grass-like. Similar to its cousin, the Raft-Building Cone Puffgrass, the Floating Island Greatgrass has gained the ability to reproduce asexually, but instead of using runners it buds new individuals from its roots. It can thrive even when submerged in the water of the salt lakes. It disperses between islands easily with its windborne spores.

Like its ancestor, the Floating Island Greatgrass is able to deal with excess salt by transporting it to specific leaves which are eventually shed. It mainly does this in and near the lakes. However, it is also able to function with higher salt content within its cells, reducing the need to shed such salty leaves. It is still capable of growing on driftwood, but it often overgrows and tips over into the ocean when it does so, preventing it from having an established oceanic population.

The Floating Island Greatgrass grows its cones very quickly despite their size and reproduces many times throughout a time corresponding to spring and summer in the southern hemisphere. The female cones are more complex and can open and close through nastic movement, allowing them to collect many spores and produce as many offspring as possible while also protecting developing offspring from the elements. The mother applies capsules of cellulose and starch around the zygotes while the zygotes themselves grow into embryos with long hairs which are caught by the wind. This is modified from their ancestor's early germination strategy and has resulted in something resembling a puffy seed, except that morphologically it is in fact an egg and the puff is attached directly to the embryo instead of to the casing. The eggs are only a millimeter wide, while the hairs of the puff are usually 2-3 centimeters long. The puff catches wind, allowing the eggs to disperse. Only a small number will survive and reach maturity.

When dry, the Floating Island Greatgrass turns peach in color, and when it dies it turns brown. Its appearance when dry may encourage large fauna in the open biomes in its range to take on a peach or "champagne" coloration.