Who is the boss?

People tend to look at the course of the world from the perspective of their navel. Make the earth subject to you. In fact, one could write the story from a different point of view as well, namely the one of plants. Their story is, after all, much older than that of humans, and while our knowledge about dinosaurs is based upon bone finds, plants were already present when they lived.


Plants possess a very special kind of intelligence, which helped them to conquer the whole world. With much less effort than mankind needed in order to follow their sucessful path much later. A long time ago plants did not have any blossoms. I can not say which event triggered the Eureka experience in them, but the development of leaves into flowers and their attractive coloring made a deal between completely different creatures possible, from which both take their advantage. Flowering plants started to use their color to attract insects, so they would be fertilized and developed a new stance of species cooperation. The winged helpers benefited from the nectar and worked for their beautifully colored contractual partners. And that was only the beginning of this intelligent cooperation. Regarding the fact that many species of insects had been disregarded in collective bargaining, the contracting parties agreed to get them on board in an unconventional manner. Some of the plants moved their blooms to the evening and night hours, and the moths were the ones who could say goodbye to unemployment.

The gates to ingenuity were opened. The most creative among the plants developed a high-quality flower design, which was neither visually nor odoriferously distinguishable from the body of bumblebees, which consequently turned those into shipping messengers of pollen. In the creative forges, they put the flower heads together. After the first attempts proved so successful, there was no holding. Mistletoes found a location high in the trees particularly appealing and hired a higher species than insects. They did this by making their seeds delicious, but indigestible, and, moreover, wrapped in a tough mucus. This innovative technology ensured that birds who had eaten the seeds had to leave them undigested, which however turned out to be very difficult because of the sticky mucus surrounding them. They got no other chance to get rid of the annoying things but to rub their little butts against a twig until they stick to it. Mistletoe says thank you very much, germinates in airy height and leads an undisturbed life as a parasite in the trees.

Squirrels are presented with an excessiv supply on crispy seeds, which they gladly accept. Hazeltrees and colleagues were smart enough to become aware of the memory problems of their red-brown servants. The scatty fellows all too often forget where they bury their prey, and this means the birth of a new plant, as soon as the warmth of the next spring lets the forgotten seeds germinate. However, squirrels spread them only in a limited radius. Those who wanted to travel further had to develop new technologies. Burs did this very successfully. They adhere to wolves, wild boars and other animals, and so easily bridge long distances. The advantages of aerodynamics were discovered by plants as dandelion and willow trees. They equipped their seeds with flyers and added the wind to the repertoire of means of transportation available to plants.

The plants were able to make the greatest progress when they learned how to recruit human beings. Insects, small and wild animals, that was all nice, but true evolutionary jumps were limited as long as they depended on their help. The wise choice of the new helper was humanity, of course. They really put up with everything. Give them a few delicious grains, and they throw their familiar lives as hunters and collectors over board, and turn to the care of certain nutritious plants. Emmer, einkorn, and oat became the new rulers over man. Against a good wage, they now ensured that competing plants could only approach to a limited extent, and also thieves and robbers like sheep, deer and mice were kept as far as possible. Nowadays, a whole industry is working to ward off pests of these field plants, who would say that these plants have not successfully trained humans?

Amble Willowherb

Now some of our green rulers had become sedentary, and enjoyed being pampered, others were driven by wanderlust. Who else could satisfy these needs as well as humans again. Large trees provided their wood, from which human craftsmen built vehicles for seeds and plants that were fond of travelling. Using ships they got nearly everywhere. Potatoes, corn, sunflowers and many more successfully traveled around the world and populated new places. If one asked the plant world today, which was their greatest success, one might perhaps hear „the submission of Christopher Columbus.“ One may doubt this, for Daimler, Benz, and Ford, too, let themselves be willingly taken advantage of by plants. Today, their products ensure that the smallest seed from Denmark can get out of the windscreen a few hundred miles further south of the motorway Munich-Salzburg within a few hours to settle there. However, plants have to take in account that people can also be annoying. So they made humans create biotopes, which are particularly suitable for humans and in which they can let off steam: motorways, right inside crossroads plants are protected, they have a wonderful life and some of them have even specialised on digesting right that, what makes humans sick: environmental pollution. And they are entirely safe: no man, no matter how stupid, would cross the busy highway, in order to do the creature living in the center harm. Well, drunks, maybe.

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