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Cynaroidia glauca

Similar to the hermit bud and lionberry, the thistle bud grows a giant cluster of many flowers, an inflorescence, which looks like a single bud, similar to the sunflower family on Earth. Since this plant family contains many weedy specimens, samples of the thistle bud, hermit bud, and lionberry were taken to Earth to determine their genetic origins and possible source of introduction. (Read more)
Glands covering the surface of the plant are actually glandular hairs, or trichomes, that contain a toxin that causes dermatitis on contact. The Na’vi are careful to avoid stepping on the leaves that grow flattened against the ground in a rosette form. When contacted the hairs break off and remain lodged in the skin, where the toxin causes unbearable itching.

The seeds of thistle bud are large and edible and used as a food staple for the Na’vi. They are harvested very carefully to avoid contacting the glands on the plant surface. An easy harvest method is to wait until the seeds are mature and whack the stem below the inflorescence with a stick, causing it to fall to the ground where the seeds can then be collected. Whoever is collecting seeds often has to compete with animals that also find them a valuable food.

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