Saturday, April 12, 2014

Winter Berries


I have always wondered why some berries hang on through the winter, bright and shiny, and apparently ripe to eat. I'm not naive. I know that some berries are toxic, but for each plant species, a distribution system must exist. Why would a plant evolve a berry so toxic, no creature dare to eat it. 

Well, a little research, and I have the answer. Some plants produce berries that are toxic until they spend weeks frozen. In the spring, they will finally be safe to eat. Plants and animals evolve together. Somebody will eat them, eventually. Until then, these tiny, lop-sided balls of color are a welcome promise of the color to come. 

All of this makes perfect sense. In the spring, animals and birds are hungry and they need food. If you were a plant, wouldn't you save your berries for spring when there is almost no competition for consumption. 

Nature is wickedly clever. 
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