Winter Melody 17

<<First Latest>>

A little late. Good old plot wars.


Ask for yuri and you shall receive yuri.

Did Floranna have no roots or was she just horribly eviscerated?

Vincent (Guest):
Dammit Melody, stop accepting requests just because you get cute/cool party members.

Milo (Guest):
"We accept your terms! ...Oh yeah, what are they?"

Not that they're in much of a position to refuse, anyway.

We've seen Floranne walk and fly, so I don't think she has roots, no. See Tree 5 for a picture of Floranne jumping.

Joke's on Tree, however, as most plants are hermaphrodites. A cursory lookup suggests that this is true of cedars as well.

...Well, in our world, anyway. Bees in our world also don't look like these ones do, so what do I know?

@Milo: Most, but NOT all plant are hermaphrodites.
Ceder trees are among those who are gendered.

It is also a common mistake to assumes "male" and "female" applies to all species, there are a huge variety of different sexual and asexual reproduction mechanisms and systems. Many do not have direct analogues to human genders. (not saying you made this mistake here; you just reminded me of one of my biology discussion pet peves)

Milo (Guest):

Ah, okay.

I was looking at "true" cedars of the genus Cedrus in the family Pinacaea.

Your link covers several North American species from different genera in the family Cupressacaea, which are commonly called cedars due to superficial similarity, but are not true cedars.

As Wikipedia notes on these species:
"The common name "Atlantic White Cedar" has been rejected by the American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature, as it is a cypress, not a cedar. However, it is still the most widely used name for this species."
"In its [The Eastern Red Cedar's] native range it is commonly called "cedar" or "red cedar", names rejected by the American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature as it is a juniper, not a true cedar. However, "Red Cedar" is the most used common name."

From another article on the site you linked to:
"Due to the cedar tree's scented bark, the public often refers to any evergreen tree with scented wood as a "cedar"."

Wikipedia's page on Cedrus or its species don't go into detail on their reproductive methods, but the Pinaceae page describes them as:
"They are trees (rarely shrubs) growing from 2 to 100 m tall, mostly evergreen (except Larix and Pseudolarix, deciduous), resinous, monoecious, with subopposite or whorled branches, and spirally arranged, linear (needle-like) leaves."
This seems to imply that all members of the family are "monoecious", which is the botanical jargon for having both male and female flowers/cones on the same plant (side note: there are two types of hermaphrodite plants, namely those where individual flowers have both male and female parts, and those where individual flowers/cones are all-male or all-female but there are both male and female flowers/cones on the same plant, but we are not interested in the difference right now - and from a cursory investigation I believe that the former doesn't happen among conifers anyway), while "dioecious" is the jargon for plants with seperate males and females. (Actually, subdioecious or androdioecious would suffice for our purposes.)

You are correct that some species commonly called "cedars" (but not considered by scientists to be true cedars) are dioecious. I still maintain that true cedars are monoecious.

Since the characters in-story are supposedly not even speaking English and their speech is just translated for our convenience, it may be futile to belabor this point. But belaboring points is what I do.

"It is also a common mistake to assume "male" and "female" applies to all species, there are a huge variety of different sexual and asexual reproduction mechanisms and systems. Many do not have direct analogues to human genders. (not saying you made this mistake here; you just reminded me of one of my biology discussion pet peeves)"

I'm pretty sure that "male" and "female" apply to most, if not all, plants. Fungi are a different matter, and I will not pretend to understand how their "mating types" work.

Even among the relative familiarity of animals, there are species that stretch the gender system, for example bees (the real ones) which come in reproductive females (queens), reproductive males (drones), and sterile females (workers), or certain lizards such as the mourning gecko and some species of whiptail lizard, which are all-female and reproduce solely through parthenogenesis (and occasional lesbian sex). But all of these can at least be recognizably categorized as male and/or female, even if they play around with the concept.

[quote]But all of these can at least be recognizably categorized as male and/or female[/quote]
I disagree, I think those doing the categorizing are overly hung up on the concept of male and female are insisting on applying it to species where it does not apply, due to superficial similarities.

Milo (Guest):
They're not superficial similarities. They're clearly evolutionarily homologous.

Worker bees, despite being sterile, still retain vestigial female reproductive organs, and in fact in some species may be able to regain limited reproductive capacity under certain circumstances (though they never get as prolific as proper queens). Additionally, while males and females are distinguished genetically (females are XX while males are X), queens and workers are distinguished after hatching according to how they are fed. Even if "male" and "female" is not necessarily the most important distinction by which to classify them (queens and workers are both female but are very different from each other), it is still a valid distinction, just as distinguishing humans by hair color is valid but not very useful (but probably not even quite as useless as that example).

This is contrasted with termites which have both sterile males and sterile females, even though the distinction is pretty academic since they won't be reproducing anyway.

In the parthenogenetic example, there are many species (including other whiptail lizard species) which have both males and females, and where females are capable of conceiving either by parthenogenesis or by having sex with a male (either way, they proceed to lay an egg in pretty much the same way). Females of those species which are all-female behave exactly the same way - they conceive through parthenogenesis and lay eggs, as a female is expected to - except there happen to not be any males around. In fact, these females of all-female species are often still capable of forming hybrid offspring with males of closely-related species.

These females in an all-female population are also clearly distinct from, say, hermaphrodites in an all-hermaphrodite population, even though both are "one-gender" systems (the latter are capable of exchanging genetic information through sex, while the former are not) - so unlike the queen and worker example, I would say that analyzing these lizards as female is not only valid, but also useful and relevant.

Another example is seahorses, where it's the male that gets "pregnant" (more accurately, the female lays her eggs into the male's body, and the male has special equipment for taking care of them until they hatch), but they still recognizably belong to those genders due to the rest of their reproductive biology, and it would not be accurate to call the ones that get pregnant "females" over that alone. In fact, knowing that "laying eggs" is something that females do, it is not that unreasonable to imagine one doing it into a male's body.

Author Jakes:
Wow, I never seen a conversation like this get so deep with the info.

Anyways, pronouns with Moth are going to be confusing from now on...

Canubirt (Guest):
Wanted to point out that comments have taught me more about trees that i knew before this post.

Mujaki (Guest):
So, if the gender un-swap thing is out of Tree's domain...
That begs the question, who's domain would it be?

If you turn me into a male cedar and then back into a human, will I be a male human?

paperclip (Guest):
Might consider a word limit on the comments...just sayin'.
Moth doesn't really look female. He looks like a man with breasts.
Floranne's gonna explode in wrath.

Marnath (Guest):
@paperclip: Last panel of the previous update had him looking a lot more female, It's just the varying art styles.

so, if the tree can't change moth back into a guy, will they add changing him/her back onto the quest list along with whatever they need to get for the tree, or will they just keep him/her like that? to be honest, i hope it's the latter, this comic needs some more yuri romance.

Andrew_C (Guest):
@paperclip: I reckon Tea's the one likely to explode with wrath.

Milo (Guest):
Double tech!

Darius Drake (Guest):
@paperclip: I disagree about the word limit. It wouldn't help matters, just make people use two or more posts for a single arguement. It'll also mean that it'll become harder to skip a "I'm making an arguement" post if you're not interested.

Awesome bonus pic uberlentil.

Also is it just me or does this webcomic not have a TVtropes page yet?
On this page alone:
Gender bending
Joined your party
Meaningful names
Side quest
Art shift
And probably some other's I haven't thought of yet.

rustyknife (Guest):
update this week?

Snowstreak (Guest):
Hey I just remember something that is mentioned one of the first comics. Remember that melody had an outrageously old map, Well we didn't think about it at time because it was the beginning and we thought meh just bad supply but now we no about the freezing it makes perfect sense, she probably had it with her t the time

Frosty the ? (Guest):
That's possible - the old duck lady fixed the map for her. Good one, Snowstreak!

Darius Drake (Guest):
I disagree, Snowsteak. I suspect that it's more likely that one of the Winter Maidens owned that map, and it was given to Melody. Remember, there is still a significant amount of her history that we don't know about.

Essentially all of her life between ages (I'm assuming) 7 and 16 (the time when she was frozen to about now) is a complete mystery, and it's more likely that she would have gotten her map during that period.

Hey, there is an update coming for this week, I just don't have it quite finished yet. Might be monday night or tuesday.