Saturday, July 6, 2019

Silent Struggle of the Leaves!

I have posted another video in a series, The Hidden Lives of Plants. This inaugural video is the Silent Struggle of the Leaves! The URL is here.

Join me out in a peaceful forest. Actually, it is not peaceful; there are silent struggles going on. I don’t just mean spiders eating insects down where you cannot see them. Animals are not the only organisms that hunt, hide, fight, and feast. The plants do so also, slowly and silently.

Plants deploy their leaf area in order to get sunlight for photosynthesis, which is how they make their food. Natural selection rewards the plants that do this the best. But these are not necessarily the plants that make the most leaf tissue or leaf area. Leaves have to pay for themselves; they must produce enough food to make up for their construction and maintenance costs. Any plant that produces too much leaf material would risk losing the game of natural selection as surely as a plant that produces too little.

That is, the silent arena for struggle in a forest is not so much a battlefield as it is a marketplace.

I am working on a book, tentatively entitled Silent Struggle: The Hidden World of Plants. Watch for it!

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