BLUE FIRE               
                                      
                               
                                          
  THE BLUE FIRE IS A CARNIVOROUS PLANT  
  LIVING MOSTLY AT THE WESTERN ALVAR (BUT 
   IT HAS SPREAD TO A FEW OTHER PLACES,   
          MOSTLY ROCKY COASTS).           
                                          
     THE PLANT IS A DENSE NETWORK OF      
  GREEN-BROWN TENTACLE-LIKE ROOTS, WHICH  
   IS OFTEN CALLED "RAT'S TAIL" BEFORE    
    BLOOMING. IN LATE JUNE, IT QUICKLY    
      SPROUTS FEELERS, TEN TO THIRTY      
   CENTIMETERS HIGH, FILLED WITH PURPLE   
   HAIRS - THIS IS THE BLUE FIRE. THIS    
     STAGE LASTS FOR ONE OR TWO WEEKS,    
     DEPENDING ON FOOD ACCESS, WATER,     
                 CLIMATE.                 
                                          
  OFTEN IT'S NOT CLEAR HOW FAR THE PLANT  
     HAS SPREAD UNLESS ITS IN THE FIRE    
 STAGE. SUDDENLY, AS IF OVERNIGHT, WHOLE  
   FIELDS CAN BE TURNED ABLAZE (WITH THE  
 SAME INDIVIDUAL PLANT, AS WELL)! IN THE  
  BLOOMING PEAK, IT'S NOT UNUSUAL FOR THE 
 WHOLE ALVAR TO BE CONNECTED NORTH-SOUTH. 
                                          
                               
                                          
   FIFTY WEEKS OF THE YEAR, WHILE IN RAT  
  STAGE, THE BLUE FIRE FEEDS ON THE STONE 
   ITSELF VIA A SLOW CHEMICAL ATTRITION.  
 THIS IS ENOUGH TO KEEP THE ROOTS ALIVE,  
   BUT ALL GROWTH AND PROCREATION MUST    
   HAPPEN DURING THE TWO WEEKS IN JUNE.   
                                          
    NOW THE PLANT FEEDS ON BIRDS; THE     
 SEMISTIFF UPRIGHT FEELERS LOOKS LIKE AN  
    EXTENSION OF THE SEA, AND BIRDS ARE   
 TRICKED INTO LANDING OR DIVING INTO IT.  
     THEY ARE QUICKLY PARALYZED BY THE    
      POISON ON THE PURPLE HAIRS, AND     
     DEVOURED OVER A PERIOD OF HOURS.     
                                          
   PROCREATION CAN HAPPEN SEXUALLY VIA    
  SPORES (CRYPTOGAMIA) OR ASEXUALLY WHEN  
      THE ROOTS ARE CUT, DIVIDING AN      
           INDIVIDUAL INTO TWO.