How plants sense risk… and then turn nasty


They continue to find out more and more about plants’ abilities to sense, communicate and work together almost like communities.  How long before vegetarians are forced to change their eating habits?!!

Wenceslas Hollar - Four caterpillars and a sna...

Wenceslas Hollar – Four caterpillars and a snail (State 1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plant Wars

Plants can’t move
so what do they do
when they’re under attack?
Can they fight back?
Picture it now.
Their foes on the prowl.
An army of slugs,
a battalion of snails,
sap-sucking bugs,
a column of caterpillars chasing their tails
all looking for something tender to chew,
a morsel of lettuce
or even a cabbage would do.
Can plants fight back?

The first plant’s aware
that there’s danger out there
and before it’s too late
it communicates
and sends out a message saying beware.
Other plants hear
and prompted by fear
they all start to change.
I know it sounds strange
but they alter the chemicals
that flow in their stalks and their leaves.
Thus they try to deceive
their old enemies.

And they hurry, they race
to make themselves bitter to taste.
Does it work?
Some will still be eaten alive.
Others will live and survive
the onslaught of the herbivores
attacking in marauding hordes.
Yes some survive,
continue to thrive,
fulfilling their need to seed.

8th August 2013 – headline from the Daily Mail

Notes:  “How plants sense risk… and then turn nasty!  Some plants may be ‘eavesdropping’ on potential predators.”  Research found that some plants are adept at military strategy, mounting a defence at first whiff of an attack.  Studies have shown that plants ‘tell’ each other about the presence of hungry caterpillars, snails and other pests.  For instance, once one cabbage is under attack, it sends chemical messages through the air which warn nearby plants to shore up their defence.  The current evidence comes from mustard plants which make themselves less appetising if there is evidence of snails in the area.  It is believed that this is because they produce a chemical that repelled the snails



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