The Web of Life (84-6) Plant Camouflage


Plants literally take care of animals, providing the air they breathe and the food they eat. Plants provide the foundation ecology for most animals, whether aquatic or living on land. Carnivores would not exist without herbivores.

Plant pathogens and pests – from microbes to the vast mass of the animal kingdom – are a continuous threat. Some have been co-opted into providing nutrients or pollination, but the odds always run against the vegetation.

To ward off what would otherwise be a slaughter, plants have defenses besides robustness and strategic chemical cunning. Bark and spikes (thorns, spines) provide some protection against penetration. Sometimes it is enough to hide in plain sight.


Hiding from herbivores is not easy, but a few plants manage the trick via camouflage.