Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weird Wednesday: Plants Have Ears!

OK, well, not ears exactly, but it turns out they can sense and respond to both chemical signals and vibrations from munching insects and gastropods. Here's the scoop about chemical signals from National Geographic:
Rue, MR, 2014
This process of sensing predator signals and producing special defense compounds as a response is vital to the herbalist. Most of the molecular compounds in plants that are good for human health are defense compounds. Aromatic herbs produce more of these compounds in difficult or droughty conditions, which is when they are more likely to be munched by hungry critters.  Think about the antibiotic properties of oregano and thyme, for example. When a Boswellia tree is munched or cut, the sap that covers the wound becomes our frankincense, the odor of which is anxiolytic.
3 Varieties of Frankincense, MR, 2013
Plants have a much more interesting and dramatic time out there than we know! And we owe a great deal of  our health and happiness to their ability to launch a good defense. Go, Team Plant!

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