Fkaxakewll - itch plant
|Behind the scenes|
The thistle bud (Na'vi name: fkaxakewll meaning "itch plant") is from the same genus as the hermit bud and lionberry. Similar to the other plants of the genus, it grows large clusters of flowers, which makes the appearance of a single bud. The weedy nature of the genus led to studies being conducted on Earth to determine its genetic origin.
The glands on the leaves are composed of large hairs, or trichomes, that contain toxins. These lead to dermatitis on contact with human or Na'vi skin. Because of this, the Na'vi are careful to avoid stepping on the leaves that grow out just above ground level. The hairs can get lodged in the skin, releasing the toxins and causing unbearable itching.
The seeds of the plant are an important staple of the Na'vi diet. They need to be harvested carefully, to avoid the toxin glands. The harvesters need to wait until the seeds are mature, and then whack the stem below the inflourescence with a stick, causing it to fall to the ground. The seeds can then be collected easily, though any nearby animals will often compete for the seeds.
Named for resemblance to the Artichoke Thistle on Earth, and the chalky appearance of the plant. The Na'vi name comes from the glands on the leaves that contain a substance that causes a skin rash on contact.