TITLE: Fortress Plant: How to Survive When Everything Wants to Eat You
AUTHOR: Dale Walters
DATE PUBLISHED: 2017
From the blurb:
"Everything, it seems, is out to get you - bacteria, fungi, insects, vegetarians... even other plants. So how do you survive? As Dale Walters explains in this extraordinary account, you fight back. And plants are not short of weaponry. Constant vigilance, rapid communications systems, several lines of fortifications, chemical weapons, insect allies - all are deployed against invaders. And you can't rest. You have to keep innovating, and sharpening your defences, because you can be sure your enemies will be finding ways around them.
All this, of course, happens withot direction of purpose. These are evolutionary arms races resulting from natural selection. But they are no less deadly for that."
Dale Walters makes use of an amusing fortress metaphor (the plant is the fortress and bacteria, fungi, insects, vegetarians etc are the invaders) to explore the large variety of methods stationary plants use to defend themselves from everything that want to eat them. This book is divided into chapters on "recognizing the enemy", alerting the plant of imminent invasion "call to arms", the weapons of war, the variety of chemical compounds used to deter/destroy invaders, aid from plant "friends", and the never-ending evolving arms-race between plants and their enemies. This book is written with the intelligent, intersted reader in mind - not everything is over-explained or simplified and there is a fair amount of botany and biochemistry involved. However, I do not believe that there is anything particularly difficult to understand in this book provided the reader is paying attention and not expecting to breeze through the book. I found this book very interesting, with a lovely writing style, juicy science stuff and no irrelevant biographical side tangents. The multitude of photographs were also very useful.