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PLANT AND SOCIETY. ESTELLE LEVETIN & KAREN MCMAHON Chapter 21 http://www.botany.org/Carnivorous_Plants/. POISONOUS PLANTS. Everywhere in environment, wild, yard, houseplants Evolved chemicals protect them from insects, pests, herbivory Capable of triggering allergic reactions

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plant and society

PLANT AND SOCIETY

ESTELLE LEVETIN & KAREN MCMAHON

Chapter 21

http://www.botany.org/Carnivorous_Plants/

poisonous plants
POISONOUS PLANTS
  • Everywhere in environment, wild, yard, houseplants
  • Evolved chemicals protect them from insects, pests, herbivory
  • Capable of triggering allergic reactions
  • Alkaloids and glycosides poisonous compounds
  • Fatal at certain doses
alkaloids
ALKALOIDS
  • Nitrogen containing secondary metabolites
  • Usually alkaline
  • Bitter in taste
  • Effect on central nervous system
  • Caffeine and cocaine stimulants
  • Morphine and codeine depressants
  • Fabaceae, Solanaceae, Rubiaceae
slide4

Signal transduction, and the function of gene promoters regulate alkaloid metabolism

  • Enzymes involved in alkaloid cytosol, vacuole, tonoplast membrane, endoplasmic reticulum, chloroplast stroma, thylakoid membranes, and perhaps unique "biosynthetic" or transport vesicles
  • Isolated genes have used to genetically alter the accumulation of specific alkaloids
slide5

ALKALOIDS AND SOURCES

  • Caffeine
  • Ephedrine
  • Quinine (Cinchona spp.)
  • Morphine (Papaver somniferum)
  • Cocaine (Erythroxylum coca)
  • Atropine (Atropa belladona)
tropane alkaloids and witchcraft
Tropane Alkaloids and Witchcraft
  • Solanaceae
  • Tropane alkaloids relax smooth muscles
  • Dilate blood vessels, increase heart rate and body temperature
  • Induce sleep and lessen pain
  • Induce Hallucination
slide7

Atropa belladona herbaceous perennial

  • Belladona was applied to eyes by many women
  • Dilation of pupil producing an alluring effect
  • Belladona “beautiful lady”
  • Henbane (Hyoscymus spp.)
  • Mendrak (Mandrogora officinarum)
  • Three plants used by witches to prepare magic potions
slide8

These decoctions induce hallucination and frenzies during witch convocations

  • Images of witch flying through air on broomsticks and transforming themselves as animals originated as delusions of their drug-induced state
  • Datura “poison”
poisonous plants in the wild
Poisonous Plants in the Wild
  • Strychnine from Strychnos spp. induces muscle convulsions
  • Used illegally to enhance athletic performance
  • Rodent poison
  • Curare arrow poison employed by many South American tribes
slide10

Curare from Strychnos spp. and Chondrodendron spp.

  • Injection of curare results in immediate muscle relaxation by blocking nerve impulses
  • Poison hemlock and water hemlock poisonous plants in North America
slide13

Water hemlock grows in water or swampy areas

  • Cicutoxin in high concentration in yellow sap exuding from roots
  • Produces convulsions
  • Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) produces resinous toxin and cardioactive glycosides
  • Monarch butterfly larvae eat milkweed without any injuries and feed on milkweeds
poisonous plants in backyard
POISONOUS PLANTS IN BACKYARD
  • Nerium oleandar (Apocynaceae) more than 50 toxin compounds cardioactive glycosides, oleandroside, nerioside similar in action to digitalis
  • Yews, Taxus spp. Poisonous herbs
  • Taxine alkaloids in all parts of plant body
slide19

Rhododendrons and azales (Ericaceae) poisonous compounds

  • Grayanotoxins
  • Pollen, nectar, honey poisonous
  • Poisoning of honey
  • Bees poisoned by rhododendrons
slide20

Fabaceae source of alkaloids

  • Rosary pea (Abrus precatorius)
  • Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • Tulips, star-of-Bethlehem, daffodils poisonous
slide24

Spurge (Euphorbiaceae) harmful due to milky sap (latex)

  • Most spp. of Euphorbia cause skin irritation
  • Ricinus communis toxic
  • Black walnut tree and Parthenium show allelopathy
  • Pollens of some plants cause allergy
carnivorous plants
Carnivorous plants
  • 400 spp. of angiosperms carnivorous
  • Carnivorous traits due to poor nutrient conditions
  • Modified leaves for traps, mostly colored to attract insects
  • Once insects trapped, digestive enzymes released
  • Venus ‘-Flytrap, Sundew, pitcher plants
slide27

Venus ‘-Flytrap (Dionaea spp. )native to North Carolina

  • Sundews (Drosera spp.) use flypaper-like leaves to trap insects
  • Glandular hairs on leaves produce adhesive ‘super-glue of plant kingdom’
  • Pitcher plants (Sarracenia spp.) leaves evolved into vase or pitcher
  • Insects lured to pitcher and slips into pool of rainwater collected at base
  • Pool contains digestive enzymes