Digest me not!

Anti-herbivore plant strategies

An effective method to reduce being attacked by herbivores is to develop reduced plant palatability. This method of defense is more direct and practical to stop not just the current attacker but also deter any future attempt. 

Induction of trichomes in response to insect damage has been reported in many plants. This increase in trichome density in response to damage can only be observed in leaves developing during or subsequent to insect attack, since the density of trichomes of existing leaves does not change. According to Dalin and Bjorkman, the damage by adult leaf beetles, Phratora vulgatissima L. in Salix cinerea L. induced higher trichome density in the new leaves developing thereafter. Likewise, increase in trichome density in S. cinera in response to coleopteran damage has also been reported. Typically the trichome density is between 25 to 100% but the increase in  in response to herbivory is much higher, where 500 – 1000% increase in trichome density has also been reported.

Many grass species deposit unsavory granular minerals in tissues that deter insect attack and feeding. According to Fergus P. Massey, Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University of Sussex, a well-known example is silica accumulation in grasses (up to 2-5% silica by mass), which is abrasive, damaging herbivore feeding structures, and reducing digestibility. By depositing silica in its tissues, it is thought to increase the abrasiveness of plant tissues, causing increased tooth or mouthpart wear and thereby acting as a feeding deterrent. 

Fergus P. Massey observed that when attacked the silica content of grass leaves was up to seven times higher for those plants in the high silica treatment for all species. Can you imagine this – up to 7 times more! This would mean plants actually training the animal not to come their way! Though plants are at a disadvantage when it comes to mobility, they manage to understand and train the animals who are much bigger and powerful! 

Anti-herbivore plant strategies

Amazing facts like push us at Plant Science by Atrimed, to explore more about how plants can help us heal human ailments. All Atrimed products are 100% safe and are tested clinically to verify their efficacy and are produced under the strictest quality protocols. If you want to avail a free consultation to see which product would suit your ailment, write to us. Check our our store here.

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