Contact: Lee Siegel
University of Utah
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.
Usage Restrictions: None
Related news release: Ptooey!