The canalyd has an unusual growth form with a basal woody stem and a thickened green stem above the base. No leaves are present so the green stem is the site of photosynthesis and food production for the plant. The canalyd appears to be an evolutionary oddity in that it has no flowers, rather has long stalks with spore-filled sacs, called sporangia, similar to ferns on Earth. (Read more)
As a woody, leafless, spore-bearing plant it would be considered a "living fossil" on Earth, most related to extinct ferns found in the fossil record. The tough leathery epidermis of the canalyd is used for making parts of saddles, containers, drum heads, and other products as an alternative to leather. It has potential to become a non-animal low-impact material for shoes, handbags and clothing. Some colonists on Pandora have fashioned attractive sandals from it and have noticed that the material is remarkably resistant to foot odor.