How Plants Defend Themselves

Caption: The defensive hairs of the stinging nettle

If you were a plant, how would you protect yourself? Plants can't run away from their enemies. Because they can't escape, plants have developed special ways to protect themselves.

The leaves and stems of stinging nettles are covered with tiny hairs. Some of the hairs are similar to tiny syringes. Touching the tips of the hairs causes them to break off. The hairs then become like needles that inject chemicals. The chemicals can cause a person's skin to become inflamed and irritated. If you're out hiking in the woods, you will want to know to avoid coming in contact with stinging nettles.

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