Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Fortress Plant by Dale Walters
Many years ago now, I studied Botany at Edinburgh University and am always interested to read books about plant science.
Published last year and subtitled How to survive when everything wants to eat you, this is a fascinating look into the world of plant defences. The author is Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology at Scotland's Rural College in Edinburgh and investigates various aspects of how plants try to prevent insects from eating them and pathogens from attacking them. Using lots of fascinating examples from botanical research, the book examines how plants identify potential attackers and how they use physical defences (including spines) and chemical defences (including poisons and enzymes) to defeat their enemies. It also looks at the 'arms race' between plants and their enemies and how many insects and pathogens adapt methods of overcoming the plant defences.
It's easy to think of plants as passive and perhaps uninteresting and this book demonstrates that this is far from the case.
The book aims to present the topic as popular science, though readers with some background in botany or horticulture will get the greatest benefit from it.
Fortress Plant by Dale Walters published (2017) by Oxford University Press.