Plants face challenges from other plants for resources (space, light, minerals, and water) and are attacked by a variety of organisms ranging from microbes to large mammalian herbivores. In turn, plants have evolved mechanical and chemical defenses and sometimes partnerships with defensive ants. Accordingly, the challengers and consumers evolved countermeasures, which serve as selective pressure on plants for further defense. Along with defenses, a plant may have other traits that alleviate these problems, such as fast growth rate (thus outcompet-ing other plants for resources), adept at colonization of open space (thus avoiding competitors and herbivores), and tolerance of herbivory (via quick regrowth). This article focuses on plant defense per se.
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