Plants and Pipettes

we talk about plants and (used to) use pipettes

Tag: defence

  • Thorns to branches

    Thorns to branches

    On today’s episode of “how it’s made”: Thorns!

    The pointy defence system relied on by many plants has an interesting origin story. Thorns start out as branch-like structures that grow out of the main stem and then, all of a sudden, turn into sharp death spikes. Now, researchers have not only figured out how that happens, but also how it can be stopped. … Read more

  • Not to stimulate cats, they said

    Not to stimulate cats, they said

    This post is inspired by two great friends. One, VL, who makes it her job to alert me of any and all of the cat-science news and sent around a paper about Cat Mint aka Nepeta spp., and the evolution of the chemicals – nepetalactones – that make cats go crazy.

    And another, FM, who read this part of that paper’s abstract:

    Most likely, the adaptive function of nepetalactones in Nepeta is to protect against herbivorous insects, not to stimulate cats […]”

    And responded jokingly that he preferred his science with a little less opinion.… Read more

  • Spitting in the eye of plant defences

    Spitting in the eye of plant defences

    Unlike animals, plants can’t make a run for it when attacked by predators: they have to stand and fight. And fight they do, with a variety of defences designed to prevent themselves from becoming food. But of course, in the evolutionary tug-of-war of nature, the predators themselves have developed specialised weapons to surmount these blockades.

    And for whitefly, the secret’s in the spit!… Read more