Why Lima Beans Are Way More Hardcore Than You Think

"And the lima bean laughs and laughs"

If you've ever said lima beans are boring, get ready to eat your words. This unassuming plant has evolved one of the most badass defense mechanisms in the plant world. 

Yeah, you read that right. While humans tend to think of plants just sitting there and unable to fend for themselves, some species are able to able to fight back against predators in pretty interesting ways. 

As far as lima beans go, one of their biggest threats are caterpillars that eat their leaves. While the plant might not be able to take care of the intruder directly, it does have the ability to call in reinforcements.

As a recent video from Atlas Obscura explains, when the caterpillar bites into a lima bean leaf and tears off a piece, the plant emits a chemical distress signal. This smell attracts wasps, who need caterpillars for a very important part of their life cycle. 

What happens to the caterpillars when the wasps get there? Check out the video and find out:


Damn, lima beans! You scary.

It's actually a pretty smart system. The plant lets the wasp know when there are available hosts for their young, and in turn, the wasp takes care of the pest that is eating the plant. It's a win-win. Well, except for the caterpillar. The caterpillar definitely loses.

On a similar note to the lima beans' ability to call for the wasps, if you've ever taken a deep breath and enjoyed the aroma of a freshly mown lawn, you're really enjoying the distress call of grass after you viciously cut it in half. You monster.

Cover image: Shutterstock


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