Purpleshade is a shrublike tree, first discovered in LY 580, by Sorreters who were relocating several species of mythical creatures to uninhabited areas, mostly on Near Land. The trees grow predominantly in steppes of central Near Land. Purpleshade trees are apparently unique in their reproductive system, in that they bear both flowers and cones. Unlike with most cone-bearing plants, the pollen is produced in large cones, which resemble the female cones of most coniferous plants. And unlike most flowering plants, the purpleshade's flower contains no stamens, only an ovary. The pollen most commonly is transferred from the cone to the flower by animals or insects, though it is possible for weather to perform this function. The name "purpleshade" is derived from the color of the flowers' petals.
It was found that chewing the bark of purpleshade has a mildly intoxicating effect, though it is more accurate to say that it induces melancholy or depression. In fact, it is generally said that the most accurate description of the effect is that it enhances the loneliness naturally felt by humans of The Land. (The effect is shared by offshoot races such as elves and merfolk, though it is less pronounced, as they are known to have been spared the punishment of The Fall.) In an effort to combat this loneliness, people may make a greater effort to interact with anyone who may be with them, or if they're alone, to focus their thoughts on the people they care about. Either effort may have varying degrees of success or failure; however, if successful, the relief of loneliness is what produces a feeling of euphoria, which is said to be similar to being mildly drunk.
In addition to producing pollen, the cones of the purpleshade tree also produce nectar, which is what produces the psychological effects described above (the nectar naturally spreads from the cones throughout the bark; ingesting the pure form which is in the cones is very dangerous, and potentially fatal). It is known that non-intelligent animals and insects are attracted to the nectar, which apparently does them no real harm, though some scientists theorize that they do share humans' psychological reaction to the nectar, and therefore, after consuming it in minute quantities from the cones, they refocus their attention on the flowers, using the flowers' aesthetic value to mitigate their feelings of unease. There is, of course, no way of knowing if there is any truth in this, though it would help explain the fact that pollination occurs at all.