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The Gnarlpalm has adapted rapidly to its wet and cool environment. Its use of lignin, and its primitive vascular tissue, has become a simple wood. The wood is light and pliant, providing both water and nutrient transport, and structural strength. All surfaces of the Gnarlpalm are photosynthetic and its body is a branching structure so that it can have a large surface area to photosynthesize with. Its entire body is covered in a thick cuticle to prevent water loss. Its branches are curving and split at the ends into two smaller branches. The branches grow from the base of the trunk, building up energy for growth in large buds before bursting out and growing into the full branch in the span of a few months. Usually, Gnarlpalm manages about a dozen active branches. Each branch lasts for about 10 years with at least one new branch being grown each year.

The Gnarlpalm enters a dormant state during winter. Its inner cells are insulated by its outer layers and its outer cells produce compounds which slow freezing and the formation of ice crystals so as to mitigate the damaging effects of freezing conditions over winters.

Reproduction occurs each spring via metagenesis. Zoospores bulbs are produced from the underside of the highest branches. Following rain zoospores are released and blown to other bulbs where they become gametophytes and transform the bulb into a gametophyte bulb, both males and females are made in this way. On the next rain the male gametes will swim to the female gametes to produce zygotes. The female gametophyte bulb will transform into a zygote bulb which will release the zygotes following the next rain, to land in moist soil and germinate a new Gnarlpalm.