Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Plants recruit animals to do their bidding

If the plant kingdom is below the animal kingdom, how come plants use us to get about, to reproduce, and even to defend themselves?   While our reproductive organs are just interesting to other homo sapiens, plants advertise to alien species.  They have tarted up their reproductive organs to be eaten by mammals and bug-licked for nectar,  They gum their organs to the fur and socks of the lords of field and forest and hitch rides in the nutritious guts of their hosts en route to new property when pooped out.  If they're so dumb, how come we work for them?
Strawberry seducing mammal
for reproductive purposes.

Now Science Daily News reports that the fresh-mown grass smell is part of a plant's alarm system. When a plant is under attack, it emits that smell to signal parasitic wasps that juicy caterpillars are on offer.  "Green leaf volatiles" and "jasmonic acid" are the smells released when something starts cutting and eating the plant. Maize (with and without the ability to release the chemical scents) was used for the test.

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