The 300 million year war
with Prof Sue Hartley
In the 2009 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, Prof Sue Hartley will show you plants as you've never seen them before. Watch the lectures here on the Royal Institution website or you can order the lectures on DVD.
The first lecture, broadcast on Monday 21 December on More 4. See Adam eat the world's hottest chilli - will he be beaten by a plant?
The second lecture, broadcast on Tuesday 22 December on More 4. With special guests Gerry the Shetland Pony and Calypso the Sloth.
The third lecture, broadcast on Wednesday 23 December on More 4. Can plants warn their neighbours about attack?
The fourth lecture, broadcast on Thursday 24 December. How have humans overcome plants' defences to get something to eat?
The fifth lecture, broadcast on Friday 25 December. How will climate change affect the war between plants and animals?
Use the Christmas Lectures to support your teaching by downloading our teacher's notes
Plants might seem passive, defenceless and almost helpless. But they are most definitely not! Thanks to a war with animals that's lasted over 300 million years, they've developed many terrifying and devious ways to defend themselves and attack their enemies. Vicious poisons, lethal materials and even cunning forms of communicating with unlikely allies are just some of the weapons in their armoury. Using these and other tactics, plants have seen off everything from dinosaurs to caterpillars.
In the 2009 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, Prof Sue Hartley will show you plants as you've never seen them before. They are complicated, cunning, beautiful and with plenty of tricks up their sleeve. And what's more, we humans are dependent on them in ways you'd never imagine. As well as much of our food, our drugs, medicines and materials are all by-products of this epic 300 million year war.
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