The Web of Life (68-4) Barberry Battles Barbarism

 Barberry Battles Barbarism

The barberry is a European shrub that produces berries with 1 or 2 seeds; typically 2. The plant has the ability to halt the development of its berry seeds.

The parasitic fruit fly Rhagoletis meigenii punctures berries to lay its eggs inside. The barberry is aware of a berry being infested.

If one of the 2 seeds in a berry is infested, a barberry aborts the infested seed to save the uninfested one. But if the berry only has a single seed, the plant gambles that the larva may die, which is a possibility. After all, losing a 1-seed berry is an utter waste of fruit.