5 incredible ways in which plants are protected from people

Are plants dangerous for humans? It has always seemed to us that this is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, but recent research by scientists has discovered an amazing feature — during the evolution of the plants, they learned to protect themselves from external stimuli. We present to your attention the most interesting mechanisms of protection of some representatives of the flora.

CYANIDE POISONING

Red apples on a tree
Some varieties of apples (mostly wild) are able to release hydrogen cyanide in large quantities.

In order to protect from animals and insects from eating shoots and leaves, some plants evolved – apple and spinach, for example, began to accumulate hydrogen cyanide. If a herbivore consumes a plant with cyanide for food, the process of cellular respiration will be disturbed in a few minutes. Of course, eating one fruit – a person will not suffer much, since the concentration of cyanide is different depending on the plant and its parts.

HEART ATTACK

Purple foxglove
By right, digitalis can be counted among one of the most poisonous plants.

Cyanide poisoning, of course, is not the most pleasant thing to do, but if you think about it, to have a heart attack is no better.

Digitalis – a herb from the family Plantain has a strong toxin that causes cardiac arrest. Digitoxin contained in digitalis is used as a medicine in small doses, but in large doses it leads to death.

Often, the Digitalis is confused with Symphytum, because of which the number of deaths from this plant increases. Symphytum has a calming effect, and its leaves look like digitalis leaves.

NEUROTOXIN INJECTION

Nettle tree
Nettle tree can cause severe pain in the body.

Incredibly strong poison that gives off nettle tree. This tree is found in Australia and New Zealand. Local Aborigines call it “ongaonga.” Even several months after poisoning of nettle tree, a person may experience terrible pain. By the way, the Dutch scientist Winkler died precisely because of this unpleasant property of the plant in 1862.

ANTS “BODYGUARDS”

Vachellia Cornigera
Vachellia Cornigera itself is harmless, but the army of ants, which protects it, may well cause harm.

The Vachellia cornigera chose to itself as the defenders of tree ants. They settled in cavities at the base of the thorns on the tree, and feed on the nectar secreted by acacia. Instead, the ants drive away insects that eat the leaves of the tree. However, a whole army of ants can attack a large animal or even a human. Being bitten by a lot of insects is not the most pleasant feeling.

WASP SWARM

Ear of corn
Like the Vachellia Cornigera, so does corn have an army of defenders.

So sweet … So delicious … Corn has its secrets.

Corn foliage contains a phenolic terpenoid, which is of particular interest in parasitic wasps. Its smell is for the wasp riders a signal for procreation. A little history from the world of animals:

Parasitic wasps differ from other species in that they lay eggs in their prey instead of the standard bite. Sometimes spiders, large insects and mammals become an incubator. After some time, the larvae leave the host’s body, and this is a very tangible process. Actually, in this way, the wasp riders prevent the destruction of the crop. And if you suddenly wanted to try fresh corn cob, be careful – probably parasitic wasps are on the way!)

2 Thoughts to “5 incredible ways in which plants are protected from people”

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