Since plants generally can’t move around, they have to rely on other strategies to cope with animals eager to turn them into a meal. Chemical weapons are a significant part of plants’ defensive arsenal. For example, thousands of plant species produce precursors of the deadly poison hydrogen cyanide; when an animal eats the plant, the precursors get converted into cyanide, which kills the offending animal. Continue reading
It’s been a few months since my last linkfest, so it seems like high time for a fresh collection. The transition to a new continent and new career has taken up a lot of my time and energy over the last few months, and unfortunately that’s meant I’ve given Inspiring Science less attention than I’d like to. Hopefully I’ll settle into a new rhythm soon and start posting more frequently again. In the meantime you can also find my writing at Accumulating Glitches or my Beacon project if you’re hankering for more. As always, feel free to add more links in the comments!
In Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice wanders into a garden with flowers that can talk — the “garden of Live Flowers”. Of course, all plants are alive, but here the flowers are called “live” because they can talk. One of the greatest examples of human arrogance might be our attitude towards plants. We treat plants as objects, as part of the background, as mere things without any agency. We tend to forget that they’re dynamic, complex living creatures that react and respond to their environment — just in unfamiliar ways and on a different timescale. Continue reading