Burst Weed
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As water is extremely scarce on Surtus, many native plants have evolved unusual survival strategies to cope with its lack. One famous example is the burst weed, named for the unusual behavior of its wind-blown seeds - once they come into contact with even small amounts of water, they expand rapidly, soaking up the fluid into their sponge-like structure for later use. This causes them to expand from a tenth of an inch to six times the size in a matter of minutes, with a force capable of shattering even stone should space be otherwise insufficient. Once the seed has absorbed its maximum capacity of water it begins to form roots and grow into the adult plant.

On Surtus, these seeds represent a considerable hazard for miners. If they come into contact with open wounds, they will soak up the blood and get stuck within it, requiring the seed to be cut out. An even more common problem is breathing them in, which causes them to bond with the mucus in the nasal tract or the salvia in the mouth, causing expansion and getting stuck there (possibly even shattering a teeth or two if it is caught between them) and again requiring careful extraction. However, while such an incident is painful it is still preferable to the seed getting carried all the way to the lungs where only magical treatments will be able to alleviate the damage. This and the ubiquitous dust are the main reasons why almost every visitor to Surtus covers their mouth and nose with a piece of cloth.

On Rothea, some people have started using burst weed seeds for demolitions in both mining and urban renewal. Though the seeds need to be transported in air-tight containers and require careful handling, they are useful enough to justify the great expense of importing them from Surtus. Perhaps fortunately, the overall humidity of Rothea seems to be too high for the plant to grow into its adult form in any but the driest regions (such as the Desert of Thunder, where a few city-states are attempting to cultivate them). Even then, the seeds are designed to be carried over great distances by the wind, causing them to be scattered into more humid regions where they rot away. Thus, it is unlikely that burst weed becomes a major pest on this planet.

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