I was fortunate enough to teach “Botany” or “Plant Science” for a number of years, and the one thing that always leapt out at me from the pages of every book was how incredibly efficient plants are. I would go as far as to say that they never do anything without a good reason.
Which leads on on nicely to why plants might have adapted to have hairy stems.
Research has shown that these hairs, particularly if they are slightly sticky capture and allow the trapped insect to die, before wind, rain or gravity releases the insect which falls to the ground around the plant roots, which are then able to absorb nutrients released by the decomposing insect.
The research work was undertaken by Professor Mark Chase, of Kew and Queen Mary, University of London which has revealed that plants such as cultivated potatoes and tomatoes are covered in these sticky hairs, trapping insects on a regular basis.
While they may be getting sufficient nutrition from our rich garden soils and fertiliser applications in the wild in impoverished soils the insect supplement could be a useful addition tot he essential elements required by the plant.
This research reinforces that premise that plants never do anything without a good reason.