Poisonous Plants - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 9 pages of information about Poisonous Plants.
This section contains 2,615 words
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Why Are Plants Poisonous?

Producing toxic chemical substances is often beneficial to plants, making them less palatable and providing them with protection against plant-eating animals or insects. Milkweeds, for example, produce several types of toxins that render them generally distasteful to foraging animals. A mere taste of the bitter leaves will turn away most would-be browsers, unless they are extremely hungry.

Many toxic compounds are secondary metabolites, which are produced as by-products of a plant's primary physiological processes. In some cases scientists do not yet understand why a particular type of plant or mushroom produces such poisons. Even within a single species, some individuals may have high concentrations of toxic compounds while others have minimal amounts. Over thousands of years, in the process of domesticating plants, we have learned to select and propagate less-toxic strains, and by these means, humans have been able to convert poisonous species into...

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This section contains 2,615 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Poisonous Plants Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences
Poisonous Plants from Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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