5 incredible ways in which plants are protected from people

Are plants dangerous for humans? It has always seemed to us that they are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, but recent research by scientists has proven an amazing feature — during the evolution of these plants, they have learned to protect themselves from external stimuli. We present to your attention the most interesting mechanisms of protection by some of the representatives of 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 itself from animals and insects eating its shoots and leaves, some plants evolved – apple and spinach, for example, began to accumulate hydrogen cyanide. If any creature consumes a plant with cyanide for food, the process of cellular respiration will be disturbed in a few minutes. Of course, by 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 experience; but if you think about it, to have a heart attack is no better.

Digitalis – a herb from the Plantain family 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, this plays a big role in the number of deaths from this plant. Symphytum has a calming effect, and its leaves look like those of the digitalis.

NEUROTOXIN INJECTION

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

An Incredibly strong poison is delivered by the nettle tree. This tree is found in Australia and New Zealand. Local Aborigines call it “ongaonga.” Even several months after being poisoned by a 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 itself as the defender of tree ants. The ants settle in cavities at the base of the thorns on the tree, and feed on the nectar secreted by the acacia. It turn, 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, corn also has an army of defenders.

So sweet … So delicious … Corn has its secrets.

Corn foliage contains a phenolic terpenoid, which is of particular interest to parasitic wasps. Its smell is a signal for procreation for the wasp riders. 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 graphic process. Actually, in this way, the wasp riders prevent the destruction of corn crops. And if you suddenly wanted to try fresh corn on the 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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