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Stickiness is a weapon some plants use to fend off hungry insects

By Eric LoPresti, Assistant Professor of Plant Biology, Ecology and Evolution, Oklahoma State University
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Imagine the texture of a plant. Many may come to mind – the smooth rubberiness of many tropical houseplants, the impossibly soft lamb’s ear, the sharp spines of cacti, or the roughness of tree bark. But stickiness, in the flypaper-stick-to-your-fingers sense, probably isn’t at the top of your list.

Nevertheless, a great many plants have evolved sticky leaves, stems and seeds, including some you likely know – such as petunias and tobacco.

In evolutionary biology, a trait that has evolved many times is interesting,…

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