The interactions of this organism vary a great deal mainly because parts of the plant are beneficial, especially to humans, and other parts of this plant, like the seeds, contain a toxic oil. This makes for very unique relationships with organisms that are specific to different parts of the plant.
For instance, the fact that the seeds contain a toxic oil, mainly composed of ascaridole, and the plant in general has a very ‘unique’ and strong odor combine to deter a great deal of insects from calling this plant dinner or even home. Since many insects tend to stay away from this plant this sets up a situation that allows for the insects that can tolerate the pungent odor to use the plant for a means of protection or in some cases unique methods of predation.

There are plenty of insects that simply steer clear of this plant, not only because of its pungent odor, but because it contains a toxic oil. The main inhabitants of Chenopodium a. are members of the phylum arthropoda, the majority of which include predatory insects and spiders. The bugs that can tolerate the smell have adopted this plant as both a means for shelter and a hide out that is perfect for preying on the less fortunate insects around them. The predatory insects use the plant to rest after a long day of preying on these other insects. They are able to do so because while they are  'resting' in the plant it is highly unlikely other bugs will bother them since most can't stand to be around this plant's odor.

                                 Next: Medicinal Uses
Back to