In the natural world, plants are in constant strain of exploitation and competition. Through the evolutionary process, plants have developed many ways to help cope with various environmental stresses. Some plants overcome environmental strain by growing taller or deeper to extract as many resources as possible. Others resort to numbers and try to overwhelm their predators and competitors by population size. However, possibly the most interesting method many plants take is the use of chemicals to kill or inhibit predatory herbivores and competing plants. Plants that resort to this method of defense are known as allelopathic and the chemicals used by these plants are called secondary metabolites. Nowhere is the struggle for resources more vital than in the desert. The use of secondary metabolites in desert plants is believed to be one of the most common defense mechanisms in
Cited: Abella, Scott R., Donovan J. Craig, Lindsay P. Chiquoine, Kathryn A. Prengaman, Sarah M. Schmid, and Teague M. Embrey. "Relationships of Native Desert Plants with." Invasive Plant Science and Management 4 (2011): 115-24. Web. . Fritzke, Jerry. "Allelopaths." Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. . Kunze, Arno, Claudia Müller, and Peter Proksch. "Chemical Variation and Defense of Encelia Farinosa." Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 23.4 (1995): 355-63. Web. . Mazid M., TA Khan, and F. Mohammad. "Role of Secondary Metabolites in Defense Mechanisms of Plants." Biology and Medicine 3.Special Issue (2011): 232-49. Web. . Tesky, Julie L. "Encelia Farinosa." US Forest Service. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. .