The nerve center and ever-moving frontier of the Viscain Empire.
The tip of the Vine is thickest--nearly 11 kilometers around--where it makes contact with a planet's surface. This bulbous termination, for a length of about 50 kilometers up, houses all the military might and governmental divisions of the Empire. Unseen below the planet's surface, is a network of roots that laces throughout the world to drain it of its resources. Once those resources have been drained and the Empire is ready to move on, a new shoot will emerge. This new, unfinished Root Palace will then "stitch" its way through space to make contact with the next step in the Empire's expansion.
When the Vine makes planetfall, there is of course a tremendous seismic shock which tends to devastate the surrounding area for several thousand kilometers. In addition, various alien toxins and bacteria are introduced into the planet's atmosphere which help supplement and expedite the Shades' work of subduing the native population.