Torukspxam - last shadow fungus
3 meters (bell)
|Behind the scenes|
Octoshrooms (Na'vi name: torukspxam meaning "last shadow fungus") are large mushroom-like organisms that live on Pandora. They are bioluminescent and extremely toxic. These fungi possess a giant underground filament network that enable them to feed.
Some botanists believe that the octoshroom's immense size is due to the dense atmosphere and low gravity of Pandora. Other scientists, however, attribute its gigantism to irradiation resulting from underground exposure to xenon isotopes and radioactive uranium oxides. Most of the body lives underground as the mycelia network.
To reproduce, octoshrooms release spores that germinate and grow filaments wherever they land.
Some mycelia penetrate plant roots to absorb carbohydrates while providing the body with a greater supply of mineral nutrients. Octoshrooms are able to absorb and break down nearly everything in the soil such as chlorine, ammonia, and methane.
Following the 1986 Chernobyl incident on Earth, a similar fungus was discovered, but not fully understood. When scientists realized that the octoshroom used ionizing radiation as energy for growth, they were able to understand the metabolism of the Chernobyl fungus in more detail. Because it is an effective antivenom, there are currently studies underway regarding the octoshroom in the pharmaceutical and bioremediation industries.
The Na'vi use the octoshroom roots to make tea. It is a powerful antivenom, and is particularly effective against the sting of many venomous animals. Too much tea, however, has proven to be toxic and sometimes lethal.
It is possible that octoshroom spores have stowed away on an interstellar vehicle and germinated on Earth. However, no specimens have been found and data regarding its survival in the terran atmosphere is incomplete. Some believe that an octoshroom "forest" in the Nevada Toxic Flats could help restore the entire region.