Olin Maris (オリンマリス; Orin Marisu) is a flowering bioluminescent plant with seeds that have a potentially fatal poison when mixed with hot water and allowed to steep. The ideal conditions for growth with the brightest luminescence in the wild are places where heat and cold are in close proximity, like in the snowy cave containing a hot spring fed underwater stream in Lilias where Shidan stumbled across some growing in the wild.
This plant first appears in Chapter 38.
Long ago in an eastern country outside of Clarines the Olin Maris plant caused an outbreak of disease which nearly killed a hundred people before the source of the illness was uncovered and a cure was developed from the very seeds which were causing it in the first place. A book describing this event and the cure is contained in the Pharmacy Institute's extensive library. The book is so old that the plant based ink it was written with has faded and is in many places no longer legible.
Some Olin Maris was discovered in a cave with a hot spring fed stream near the base of an avalanche chute just outside the walls of the research gardens in Lilias by Shidan, who was not able to immediately identity the striking plant due to its rarity and started studying it in secret, thinking he'd discovered a new species. He hoped to plant the bioluminescent vine along the Silver Passage in Wirant. When the stream was temporarily swollen with snow melt some of the seeds from the plant were transported and stranded in a hot spring's pool in a lower cave before the waters returned to their usual route. Over some time there developed a nearly glowing mist over the hot water which contained a potentially fatal toxin released by the seeds, and this mist spread and dispersed through the cave and out into the research gardens nearby. Once it became clear the plant was responsible for the new illness striking Lilias which had forced Prince Izana to order the gates of the checkpoint city closed to prevent the mysterious disease from spreading Shidan continued to keep it secret, hoping that a cure could be found without revealing that the beautiful plant was responsible, or that he'd been keeping the culprit hidden. He started to show remorse once his nephew Kirito fell ill, but it was still only through the efforts of Shirayuki, Ryuu and Obi that the plants were uncovered and reported to the kingdom.
Following the incident Garak Gazelt gave clearance for research on the plants once they had been sufficiently contained, rather than ordering their destruction as Shidan feared. Because Shidan had been talked into being the one to make the report on the plants he was allowed to head the project which successfully created a non-toxic ornamental cultivar from Olin Maris which was named Phostyrias.
Distribution and ClimateEdit
The plant is so rare it was considered possibly extinct during Garak Gazelt's time studying in Lilias, though the descriptions of the plant in the Pharmaceutical Institute's library were striking and memorable enough that she mentioned it to her young student Ryuu years later. Only under conditions where it is growing in cold climates where it also has a consistent heat source does the luminescence reach it's full potential and it seems to prefer such conditions, making hot springs in cold places the most likely place to come across it.
Morphology and IdentificationEdit
Olin Maris grows as a woody vine with large glowing blue-green flowers shaped as a husk or bladder around a seed cluster, resembling structure of flowers and fruits from plants of the real life Physalis genus. The plant spreads its seeds through loculicidal dehiscence, after which point the grouped seeds can drop very quickly. Given the plant's preferred growing conditions this usually results in the seeds dropping into the water from the hot spring it's growing near which can be dangerous to humans if that water collects in puddles where the toxins can build up. How pollination occurs is unknown as the flowers seem to remain closed until after the fruit and seeds have developed within them.
A non-toxic cultivar named Phostyrias was created by a team of botanical researchers at the Pharmaceutical Institute in Lilias. After their work was verified by other researchers a crown designated botanist certified that the new plant was safe for use as an ornamental plant. It's flowers are smaller than those of wild Olin Maris and glow with a "pale crimson" color rather than the blue green of the wild plant. It is much hardier and less finicky to grow. While increased hardiness was one of the goals of the experiments it became much hardier than the researchers were expecting given the difficulty of growing the plant they started with.
Olin Maris PoisoningEdit
- While there are no plants like Olin Maris in the real world the shape of the flowers is based on the husks that form around fruits of the more famous members of the Physalis genus, especially Physalis alkekengi, known colloquially as Japanese Lantern and hōzuki.