The tera is a variety of Kitellian flower noted for its delicate beauty which grows from an umbrella-like tree having leaves much like those of the Earth tree called aspen; these leaves possess scalloped edges very much like the Yuniri shrubs from Fruglam.
The blossoms themselves are superficially similar to Earth’s rose in terms of how the bloom is arranged and the general shape and size of the petals. The colour varies but is typically in hues of red, blue, or purple – and very, very rarely pink or fuchsia. Regardless of the colour it is always distributed the same: a very pale, pastel shade near the centre which gradually and gracefully becomes richer, deeper and darker toward the outer petals; by the outermost it is usually a shade that is almost, but not quite, black.
The flower’s scent is reminiscent of the peach blossom of Earth or possibly the Narshri buds of Plokia. Either way there is a subtle tone to the scent that hardly any two people asked will agree how to describe, though it is almost unanimously agreed to be a faint, vaguely spicy scent and one that is very pleasing.
This undertone aroma is the product of a type chemical compound that, so far, seems to be unique to the flora of Kitola called a tymphaor. It has been described by many biochemists as being the bastard offspring of a benzene and a pheromone. These compounds tend to be detected by the olfactory senses as a faint spice or musk while simultaneously registering in the hind-brain as pleasure, happiness, and/or arousal. Many races’ brains will automatically register the smell as whatever scent the individual is already familiar with that it would find most pleasant or arousing (tera are widely sought as aphrodisiacs by some races for obvious reasons, and tymaphor containing perfumes and colognes are one of the Kitellians’ chief exports).
The tree grows primarily in rocky soils at high elevations along the banks of creeks. It has a very specific salinity requirement — more than 2% too much or too little salt in the environment will kill the roots — limiting the tera’s viable habitat further to mountainsides near salt deposits, but not too near. The plant is, as can be imagined, somewhat uncommon, if not exactly rare, in the wild, but a careful gardener who is willing to keep very close watch on soil compositions can grow them anywhere with a suitably cool environment. It should be noted, though, that at lower elevations the tree is not fond of the increased air pressure and will generally not grow as tall at its mountain brethren.
Still, this ready acceptance of being cultivated has led the tera to often be a popular choice for Kitellian perfumes and incense. The purple blossom’s flowers were traditionally used to make various dyes and pigments before synthetic means were found (the natural dye of the purple tera, while a truly remarkable colour has very poor colour fastness), and the red is often still used today to make candies as the resultant colour is a very festive and happy shade of scarlet and traces of the tymphaor compound remain to give a very subtle layer to the taste.
The leaves have seen an on/off vogue as garlands worn as a crown on the heads of, most often, adolescents, though this is not currently a popular style it can be found among some in a few of the smaller villages in the southern hemisphere and in any rural community where the wild trees are abundant. The wood of the tera tree is used decoratively, only. It has a density and texture that makes it a poor choice for practical purposes, but it is easily carved and sculpted as well as having a very rich golden shade that lasts for many, many years with little effort due to the wood’s natural oils. Many fine Kitellian tabletops, and desktops have terawood inlays, figures and statues of the material abound, and beads of the wood is common in jewellery commonly worn by young boys.