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Author Topic: Why are some plants spicy?  (Read 868 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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Why are some plants spicy?
« on: 03 January, 2016, 09:58:55 AM »
We get the vast majority of our spices from the roots, leaves or distillations or oils from plants and very tasty they are too.

But my question comes from wondering why some plants are so spicy when so many others aren't.

Is there any benefit to the plant in being spicy or hot?

I mean, everything from spuds and rice to cabbages and quinces aren't spicy but they grow perfectly well without it.

So, I imagine there is some very good evolutionary advantage that being spicy brings to some plants.

If so, what is that evolutionary advantage?

And, as a related question, is there any reason why so many spices come from plants that grow wild mainly in the Far East and Eastern Europe and in basically very hot rather than very mild or cold countries?
« Last Edit: 03 January, 2016, 11:10:07 AM by P-Kasso2 »
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Offline siasl

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Re: Why are some plants spicy?
« Reply #1 on: 04 January, 2016, 09:07:54 AM »
It's probably to do with attracting the best creature for germinating seeds. I'm told that the chilli is spicy to deter creatures that chew the seeds so that they remain intact as they transit the digestive tract - whether that's true or not I'm not sure though!