Fireleaf is a fernlike plant that grows in the colder regions of the world, where the height of summertime reaches the temperature that more temperate regions see in the early springtime, and where winter sees the ground frozen solid enough to break even dwarven mining tools. It doesn’t grow farther north than the tundra, however, as even the plant’s heating properties can only accomplish so much.
Rising nearly six feet in height at full growth, the Fireleaf contains alternating pockets of secreted chemicals that, when a plant-eater tries to graze on the fern and breaks the pockets open, intermix and rapidly heat to nearly the boiling point. The fern itself is tough and fibrous, with the sap containing small traces of the heating chemicals - such that during the winter season, the ground around it remains unfrozen, but not enough to damage the plant itself. The temperature only rises dramatically when the chemicals are allowed to mix freely.
In appearance, the Fireleaf fern ranges from three to six feet in height, ranging from light green in the winter months to a deep, rich emerald hue during the summer, with the pockets of chemicals marked by the slightly more yellow bulges in the leaves and stems of the plant. At full growth, the main stem is nearly three inches thick, and many of the northern tribes value the tough, fibrous material for any number of tasks, from construction to fishing poles.
If carefully harvested without damaging any of the bulging pockets of the plant, the liquid-filled pockets can be drained without combusting, leaving the fibrous and thin, glossy leaves to be used in industry.
The chemicals often see use in hunting, warfare, and cooking, as careful mixture can produce both a potent weapon and a comfortable, fireless heat.
The chemicals secreted by the Fireleaf fern produce temperatures in direct proportion to the amount which gets mixed together, and take approximately sixty seconds to achieve full heat.
The stem is flexible, but due to the way the fibers are interwoven it remains amazingly strong even when drained, and as such can be used as a servicable fishing rod or for simple construction, although it remains too flexible even when dry to be of much use as a support structure or a proper weapon.
The leaves are naturally glossy and waxy, and when the chemical pockets are drained they can be used to form an effective waterproof shelter, which is commonly seen in the permanent villages in the northern lands.
One of the least-known uses of the Fireleaf fern is by a small subset of mages, who uses the ground-up roots as an additional material in fire-based magic, amplifying the potency of the spell by a small degree.