While Avirandel is considered hospitable due to its acceptable atmosphere and temperature range, very few forms of life developed there. Most of the surface is covered in either vast lava fields or the glistening ice caps which have spread from the poles. As both of these conditions are generally hostile to life, that which has evolved is mostly located on the more moderate "Thorn Island" landmass, which sits suspended between extremes. While appearing as a rich emerald green from space, explorers were in for a shock when they landed and discovered not rolling fields of grass, but a blasted and almost barren scrubland whose soil possessed a high concentration of a strange green mineral. Even in places where more significant growth has been able to take hold, the trees are spare and stunted, and this lack of growth has been widely attributed to the vicious winds which come howling down from the poles almost constantly.
These winds have been a source of great interest to planetary climatologists ever since Avirandel was discovered, as the world's atmosphere is unusually active for such a cool world. The most widely accepted theory for this activity is that the radiation from the Alderaan sun has a great impact on the magnetosphere, which in turn feeds more powerful than usual convection currents within the atmosphere. Cold air is forced down from the caps and stirred up by the heat rising from the lava fields, which only strengthens the currents further. Eventually these winds come blasting down towards the equatorial zones occupied by Thorn Island, and have resulted in the erosion of most of the top soil from this region.
With the poor soil and equally poor plant growth, animal life of Avirandel is typically small and scarce, each creature quietly minding its own business and trying to eke out an existence. Competition for space between species is exceptionally fierce however, with one researcher describing a dispute between two mouse sized species as "one of the most bloody and malicious displays of violence" he had ever seen. Also despite a complete lack of proof, rumours persist about the "Green Ghosts," a species of dog-sized creatures capable of blending in with their surroundings.
Aside from these semi-mythical creatures, the only thing about Avirandel of much note is the liqueur produced from the tiny leaves of the Therafin plants which grow in the shelter of other plants. Unusually strong by the standards of even the most jaded connoisseur, it carries a distinctive but pleasant flavor which has earned it an almost cult like following amongst drinkers across the galaxy. So profitable is the sale of Therafin liqueur that it is the main source of income for the planet, and allows it to afford to import most of what it needs given the general lack of resources on Avirandel.