Plants had to defend themselves since their emergence millions of years ago. Myriad insects and snails feed on them, and larger herbivores devour fresh, green leaves and juicy stems. Mostly anchored in space, plants have had to evolve elaborate defense mechanisms to survive the challenges.
Join us for a crash-course focusing on the families of chemical plant defenses and look at some of the characteristic examples of defensive plant substances. This will include native California plants as well as some non-natives. We’ll examine the typical molecular compositions of strong leaf odors, gums, resins and saponins. Don’t worry, no previous chemistry knowledge is required! Also, we’ll explore how plant defensive substances have been the origins of many medicines for humans.
Led by Margareta (Greti) Sequin, who has a Ph.D in organic chemistry and is a plant enthusiast.