Category: Gardening, Farming & Ranching

Considering spinach & blister beetles

The relationship between plants and their chemical aromas and insects goes beyond the delightful fragrances some flowers use to attract pollinators. Some chemical interactions are so subtle that we humans cannot detect them, but insects pick up on them right away. Plants can apparently direct these chemicals to different parts of the plant and use them to their advantage. I have read, for instance, that fruit trees will use hormone-like substances, called “semiochemicals”, to attract pollinators, but also to repel predators. And sometimes, they will vary the chemical release on different parts of the plant, sacrificing some parts of the plant to protect other parts, or to attract the invading insect’s predators.

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