The kavische is a cactus hybrid that originated on Yar (Centauri II) and is now found throughout the planet. After Yar was terraformed in the mid-2800s, numerous plants and cacti were seeded onto the world. A few cycles later, a new hybrid that would come to be known as the kavische was discovered successfully growing across the Red Desert. Due to its rosy coloration and beautiful night-blooming flowers, the kavische is popular among succulent and cactus enthusiasts.DISCOVERY
In the years before it was terraformed, Yar was a desert planet with a very thin hydrogen-oxygen atmosphere; enough to support some forms of life, but not enough to allow Humans to live on the surface without supplemental air. It remained a planet that only attracted botanical and entomological researchers until a vein of titanium was found in the Shunkai Mountains in 2839. Upon receiving this report, the United Empire of Earth (UEE) authorized minimal terraformation of the world to help facilitate and encourage extraction of the planet's resources.
Many plants that had originated on Earth (Sol III) were seeded on Yar as a part of the terraformation process. Cereus cacti were exceptionally suited to the planet, propagating themselves without Human assistance as soon as the atmosphere was deemed breathable. However, instead of reproducing only within the cereus genus as expected, the cacti began to hybridize with local plants. Among these cactus seedlings was a new type of hybrid, dubbed "kavische" cactus after the plateau upon which it was discovered.DESCRIPTION AND LIFE CYCLE
The kavische proved vigorous, even in the inhospitable Red Desert, an arid region so vast it is visible from planetary orbit. It took on the cylindrical appearance, towering height, and flowering cycle of its cereus parent, and the red coloration and thicker, sharper spines of its Yar parent, the hematic cactus. Over the long term, it outperformed both its ancestors, eventually coming to dominate the landscape.
Upon reaching maturity, a kavische will put out a large flower that ranges in color from white to orange to red to purple, depending on the region in which it grows and the variety of plant. This heavily-scented flower blooms only for one night. Bats introduced from Earth and giant Yar moths pollinate the blossoms, which then close and transform into a water-rich fruit. Desert birds, rodents, and other animals consume the fallen fruit and spread the seeds over a wide area. The dropped seeds lay dormant until a rare rainfall occurs, at which point they sprout, establish roots, and begin to grow. Fully mature kavische can reach almost 2.5 meters in height.IN POPULAR CULTURE
The people of Yar consider the kavische cactus a symbol of thriving in a harsh environment. Homesteads are sometimes heavily planted with the kavische, both as a deterrent to would-be trespassers and as a point of Yar pride. Prospectors planning to search the Red Desert for potential resources to mine are known to carry dried pieces of the kavische with them for good luck. Locals also have been known to create decorative jewelry or embellish their clothing with the spines.
Kavische cuttings are a common export from Yar to plant collectors. The cuttings take easily to standard cactus or succulent conditions and will root themselves in sandy soil with the application of very little water. Some dwarf varieties of kavische have been bred outside of Yar and have become popular house plants. Dwarf kavische that produce showier and more colorful flowers have recently appeared in plant markets thanks to the efforts of hobby growers. The low maintenance and durability of the plant have also made it popular among students.