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Contact: Lee Siegel
lee.siegel@utah.edu
801-581-8993
University of Utah

Ochradenus baccatus

Caption: Immature berries of the Middle East desert shrub Ochradenus baccatus, also known as sweet mignonette or taily weed. If the seeds are chewed at the same time as the fruit pulp, the berries release a toxic "mustard oil bomb." A new study by Israeli and University of Utah scientists shows that toxic reaction prompts spiny mice to spit out the seeds when they eat the berries, effectively helping the plant reproduce.

Credit: Michal Samuni-Blank, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

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Related news release: Ptooey!


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