When it comes to evolution, no plant stands alone.
For mustard plants, investing heavily in pest defense is a good idea if a different plant species lives next door, says Richard Lankau of the Illinois Natural History Survey in Champaign. If the nearest plant happens to be another mustard, however, then the investment in protection becomes a bloated military budget and the offspring suffer.
Plant communities influence evolutionary forces in very complex ways, a new study finds. Lankau and Sharon Strauss at the University of California, Davis have demonstrated that a plant's surrounding community can boost, shrink, or even reverse evolutionary forces. The relationships are complex eno