Strange Evolution: A Chinese Plant That "Learned" to Hide from Humans
By admin - November 27, 2020

Camouflage plays an important role in the natural world and it helps to save animals as well as plants. Under the pressure of natural selection, some in the natural world develop traits that are less visible to predators.

For example, the coloration of plants often protects them from herbivores. It seems that some plants not only scare away herbivores but also humans.

Fritillaria Devalvayi is one such plant often used in Chinese medicine as an antitussive powder. 1 kilogram of such powder costs about $ 480, and its preparation requires the crushing of thousands of Fritillaria.

Some Fritillaria are light in color and easily noticeable, although in some places it has gray flowers and a stem that blends in with the stony relief. It should be noted that light color is common in places where these flowers are less picked, and where the demand for the plant is high, it has a gray color.

Research co-author Hang Sun says commercial extraction of plants has the greatest pressure on plant selection. Two different phenotypes of Firtillaria are evolutionarily explained as follows:

In mountainous China, light-colored flowers were more noticeable to humans, consequently the population of light-colored Firtillaria was critically reduced, and colorless plants multiplied as they survived harvesting.

The study was published in Current Biology.