The Buku Tree
Tree of Light
The buku tree, native to many geographic regions of Luratia, is best known for its bioluminescence. This unusual plant, the only of its kind on Luratia, has thin leaves with a unique property of absorbing and storing photons in its cellular structure. During nightfall, the leaves radiate the stored photons, creating a glow-in-the-dark effect that lasts from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the size of the tree. Given that a Luratian day is only 20 hours, a good size buku tree could illuminate an outdoor area from sun down to sun up.
The buku tree played an influential role in the early stages of life improvement and in the civilizing of savage man. Long before the advent of fire, the luminescence of the buku tree provided light during the dark of night. The buku tree was the first form of currency, and in the long ancient history of the barter economy, the buku tree was highly prized and valued. It was not uncommon for a single buku tree to be traded for a small herd of animals. Many tribal wars and smaller skirmishes were waged over the ownership of the buku tree. Stealing trees in the dark of night was a common practice, but all too often, their luminescent glow exposed the fact of the crime and the identity of the thief.
The ancients believed the buku tree to possess magical powers. Many believed it was a gift from Life, placed here to guide the children of Life through darkness and to assuage fears of the dark that the intelligent creatures on every inhabited world initially encounter.
These trees were so revered by the ancients that many of the early religions worshipped the buku tree. Only one of these religions have endured the tens of thousands of years of progress. It is found on the continent of Egli, whose native inhabitants still worship the buku tree, which once grew abundantly along its coasts and rivers. The colonial powers that now rule and govern Egli have removed most of the buku trees, which were sold on the international market. The colonists were not primarily motivated by the handsome sums the buku trees earned, however. The trees were removed as a show of power. One of the most effective ways to conquer and oppress a slave class is to denigrate that which is sacred to them, that which commands their allegiance and that which gives them faith.
Today, throughout most of Luratia, the buku tree is a favorite decorative element of public and private landscaping. Every home that can afford it has at least one buku tree in their yard. Many homes, especially in the warmer climates where much time is spent outdoors, plant a small grove of buku trees, which serves as outdoor lighting all evening long.