The Bullhorn Acacia: The Mind-Control Flower
This devious plant has achieved something usually only reserved for B-list comic book supervillains: It's capable of commanding swarms of insects. The bullhorn acacia provides shelter and nutrient-packed nectar to stinging ants in exchange for their protection, but with a catch.
An enzyme in the nectar changes the ants' physiology, making it impossible for them to digest any other kind of sugar. This essentially makes the insects chemically dependent on the acacia's sweetness, which they will get as long as they protect it. The plant makes a certain chemical which makes the bugs go absolutely apeshit psychotic on command. So whenever an animal, like a giraffe, tries to eat the plant, the acacia releases the chemical and has its army bite the face off the attacker.
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Yup, that is exactly how we imagined the plant would look, minus the skull-shaped leaves.
"But wait," you might be saying, if you know anything about ants and plants. "Don't ants destroy plants, because they eat the leaves and scare away helpful insects?" The answer is that they would, if it weren't for the aforementioned mind-control thing that the plant has going for it. When it needs to, the acacia can also produce a different chemical, which attracts pollinating bees to help it reproduce. It also totally repulses the ants, allowing its flowers to bloom in peace.
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"Kinda getting a few mixed signals over here, sweetums."
Once the pollination is complete, the acacia takes the chemical lock off the door and invites the junkie ants back into its crack house of horrors. Mother nature, everyone!
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