Geolichen

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Geolichen is a staple crop in the Karalian Empire. It is native the planet Ackarra, the fifth planet of the Vaikan's home star system of Szon. Discovered during the Vaikan's early days of spaceflight, it is known for its hardiness and ability to grow in many harsh conditions. Even on planets with a hostile surface, Geolichen can be cultivated in underground caverns. As such, it is a very common food source on mining worlds especially the worlds of Greenwater where little to no atmosphere exists.

Biology

Geolichen draws nutrients from mineral rich soil. In its first stage of life, it forms leafy-like growths which can be harvested as a lettuce. However, well-cultivated Geolichen can produce pod-like structures rich with both nutrients and spores often nicknamed potatoes. Geolichen potatoes are edible even when naturally grown. In the lichen's native environment, Desmodans (also known as Ackarran vampire bats) will eat these pods by sucking their insides out with a large proboscis including the spores. The spores cannot be digested, and as such, are left behind in its guano which acts as an additional fertilizer. Desmodans are often kept in farms to assist with pollination, but they are a double-edged sword as they must be kept away from food stocks ready to be shipped out.

Remarkably, Geolichen and their potato pods can also be metabolized by Eteno which made them one of the first foods to be exchanged with the UESS during the cultural revolution following the Buyuk Wars.