General, Research, Technology

How do plants evolve so that people stop collecting them?

In the wild, predators try tosave not only weak animals, but also many species of plants. To save their lives, animals scare off enemies with a bright appearance or disguise themselves against the background of the environment. Plants can do the same.... Some plant species are very bright andwarn predators that they are poisonous and life-threatening. They are also able to "disappear" against the background of the wild. For example, recently this ability was discovered in plants growing in China belonging to the genus hazel grouse. For many years, the hazel grouse of the species Fritillaria delavayi was used as medicinal herbs and over time began to disappear. But evolution helped them by changing their color to a dark gray color, allowing them to merge with stones in one pile. But how effective is this protection method?

These are not rotten plants, they are just hiding from people.


  • 1 Chinese medicinal plant
  • 2 Plant evolution
  • 3 Influence of humans on plants
  • 4 Difficulties of plants

Medicinal plant of china

Grouse species Fritillaria delavayi in very largein number grew on the slopes of the Hengduan mountain range, which is also known as the "Sichuan Alps". But their numbers began to decline. Usually the leaves and bulbs of these plants are colored bright green. Their bulbs ripen only five years after the appearance of the shoots and it is they who have been used by locals for thousands of years as a cough suppressant. Considering that it takes about 3,500 bulbs to ripen for so long to make a kilogram of medicine, it is not surprising that over time these plants have become very few. The authors of the study, the results of which were published in the scientific journal Science Alert, spoke with local residents and found that it becomes more difficult for them to find these plants every year.

Those "Sichuan Alps"

Plant evolution

And this is not surprising, because over timethe leaves and bulbs of hazel grouses turned dark gray. Look at the fourth photo from the bottom and you will hardly see any plants there. It seems that only stones are shown in the frame. But, in fact, there are disguised medicinal plants among them. Researchers showed similar photographs to a group of 14 people and they hardly found anything other than pebbles there.

Can you quickly find plants in the last two frames?

According to Chinese botanist Yang Niu,Changing the color of plants during evolution is a very common phenomenon. This usually happens so that the leaves become invisible to herbivores. But the researchers carefully studied the fauna at the foot of the huge mountains and found that there are practically no animals that feed on grasses. But the locals actively collect them, which means that the plants have evolved to escape from people.

Usually Fritillaria delavayi looks like this

Influence of humans on plants

According to ecologist Martin Stevens (MartinStevens), it's amazing how much a person influences the appearance of wild plants. It is quite possible that, in addition to hazel grouses, other types of plants or even animals have evolved due to human activities. This means that in the future, researchers will be able to make many more similar discoveries. There are many weeds in the world that look very similar to wheat and other crops. So, they, too, could acquire such a form in the course of evolution, just so that people would stop picking them up.

Some weeds "pretend" to be wheat so that they won't be plucked

Difficulties of plants

Plants, like animals, at the momentthey are not going through the best times. The air temperature in different regions of our planet varies greatly. Somewhere it gets very hot, because of which many species of animals and even people suffer. And at other points severe cold weather comes from time to time. Many crops like corn cannot grow in cold conditions and scientists are trying to help them do it. Recently, a team of scientists led by Professor David Stern came up with how you can teach corn to withstand almost any environmental conditions. You can read about the new technology in this article.

If you are interested in the news of science and technology, subscribe to our channel in Yandex. Dzen. There you will find materials that have not been published on the site!

I also recommend that you read the article on howplants disappear due to the abundance of microscopic plastic. We are talking about plastic particles no more than 5 millimeters in size, which even get inside our organisms. They are part of the many plastic bottles and other products that we thoughtlessly discard into the environment.