The Web of Life (79) Plant Defenses


Because plants cannot run away from danger, they have evolved defenses against pathogens and herbivores that rival, and even exceed, the sophistication of many animal immune systems. ~ American ethologist Andrew ZinkĀ & Chinese botanist Zheng-Hui He

Plants possess a repertoire of defensesĀ and healing remedies. Plants make carefully determinative decisions about investing in defense instead of growth.

Plants respond to their environment with potent defenses. ~ American biologist John Orrock

By recognizing signature molecules of microbial malevolence, plants are actively aware of an infection and consciously decide how to deal with it. Among other options, they might decide to sacrifice a region around the infected area to prevent its spread.

Plants have an innate ability to recognise potentially harmful bacteria and launch an immune response. ~ French botanist Cyril Zipfel

Infection stresses a plant. This triggers a sophisticated series of defense mechanisms, stimulating various hormones that trigger alterations in gene expression networks.

Plants can actively create an ecology of assistance from their own and other species. Certain bacteria that live at the root of a plant may warn of an impending attack, suggesting to the plant to close its leaf stomata. These pores not only provide an opening for air and water, but also pathogens on the prowl. Helpful bacteria use the plant’s signaling pathways from root to shoot to alert a plant that tiny trouble is afoot. The plant conveys its thanks by cultivating more of the sentinel bacteria, at least until the crisis passes.