|True Name||Brael Fronds (also known as Anchor Weed)|
|Locale||Shallow Ocean Water|
Keel weed is a species of sea weed that grows in the form of enormous green tendrils. These tendrils have a shredded sheet-like appearance. The flat tendrils of this green seaweed are anchored with a vast root network in the silty bottom of shallow seas, narrow inlets, etc. Keel weed is a dark green, almost black. The surface of the fronds is covered in millions of tiny barbed hooks.
While keel weed does not generally engage in combat, its feeding methods (see below) pose a serious threat to swimmers and small watercraft.
A humanoid swimmer venturing into a keel weed area will find their clothing and skin "sticking" to huge sheets of dark green sea weed rising up from below. As the swimmer tries to free himself they will be entangled and drawn down into the murky depth. Very strong swimmers may be able to tear free, but most will drown.
Huge clusters of keel weed sheets can grip the hulls of ships by embedding the barbs in the wood and barnacles of the hulls. Small water craft (canoes, rowboats, rafts) can actually be pulled under and crushed by this weed. Large sailing ships are too big for the fronds to pull under but even the biggest ships can get caught by a cluster of fronds and become "anchored" in this way (which explains the nickname "anchor weed"). In such cases, it is necessary to put divers in the water to cut the fronds loose (very dangerous work indeed).
Keel weed, usually grows within five kilometers of the coastline in water less than 25 meters deep. Tendrils typically reach almost to the surface (within 1-2 meters). Their usually interact and feed on large aquatic life forms, swimming humanoids and small water vessels.
Keel weed feeds on anything they can catch with their hook surfaced fronds including most aquatic life up to the size of a small whale.
Keel weed is actually a community of non-intelligent plants, but they exhibit borderline intelligence in response to stimuli. When something brushes up against a frond, whether it be a large fish, a swimming man or the hull of a ship, the barbs on the surface of the plant extend and grip the prey. Specialized cells in the frond contract causing the frond to coil and wrap around the target (if its smaller enough) or apply more surface area to the object (for a large object) to get a better grip.
Once gripped and entangled, most life forms are either drowned or crushed. The detritus falls to the ocean floor where the rotting carcasses are absorbed by the root network as nourishment.
One species of shark, the brael thresher, has developed a parasitic relationship with this weed, feeding on the detritus of the victims.
This website was last updated August 12, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.