The so-called “Hellfire Pine” is a type of tree found in the forests of Eden during the Interregnum between iterations of reality. Known for its tall crown and fire-activated seeds, this pyrophytic evergreen is also famous for its nigh-indestructible wood—a prized material used to rebuild The Strumpet’s Sister after each Calamity tears that beloved pub down.
An adult Hellfire Pine is characterized by a wide umbrella-like crown sitting high atop a tall, thick trunk. The reddish bark is also thick, with deep vertical fissures—a distinctive pattern that some Edenites call “the tears of the tree.”
In its youth, the Hellfire Pine’s canopy is far more irregular—the staggered heights of the thing reminding some of a lit torch.
Genetics and Reproduction
Much like Earth-native species such as the lodgepole pine and the Eucalyptus, the Hellfire Pine requires the high temperatures of a raging fire for its seeds to sprout. This is because of the serotinous cone the tree produces, which is completely sealed with resin—resin so stubborn and impregnable that even the flow of lava sometimes isn’t enough to melt it.
This makes the planting of a new Hellfire Pine forest a most precarious proposition. Though the potential reward in super-strong hellfire wood is too much for many Edenites to resist, many a cultivator has gone broke trying to plant cones that just refused to be prized open.
Ecology and Habitats
The Hellfire Pine is distinct for being the one plant species native to Eden—all other species having originated on some other world prior to the Calamity. And while the tree can flourish in any biome found here—even The Desert at the Edge of Existence—the Hellfire Pine is notable for never having been successfully introduced to a world outside of Eden. The cones, everlasting in every other context, cannot survive transport through the Veil of the World or through any of the doorways inside the Strumpet’s Sister.
And so, this tree only gets to exist in the world between worlds.
Dietary Needs and Habits
The tree requires very little water, relying mostly on rain and other forms of precipitation to quench its thirst—its roots strangely avoiding rivers whenever possible. But it does rely heavily on the rays of the sun, the overcast sections of Oz and some of The Reek’s smoggier cities being the only places where the Hellfire Pine truly struggles to take hold.