Presentation in Port Angeles to tell of plant defense system

The free presentation will be from noon to 1 p.m.

PORT ANGELES — Pam Larsen will explain what volatile organic compounds are and how they can provide a defense against pests during a talk set for Sept. 8.

The free presentation will be from noon to 1 p.m. in the county commissioners’ meeting room (160) at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St.

It is part of the “Green Thumb Garden Tips” brown bag series sponsored by the WSU Clallam County Master Gardeners.

According to Larsen, plants have survived for hundreds of millions of years in part because of the release of gaseous messages, the volatile organic compounds.

These messages are understood by nearby plants and insects, warning other plants of potential attack by herbivores or requesting more mobile members of their neighborhoods to come to the aid of plants under herbivore assault.

This program will introduce gardeners to some of these relationships and help explain how plants did so well before people added pesticides to the garden picture.

A longtime organic gardener, Larsen has taught organic gardening classes for The Community Gardens of Sequim for eight years and for the general public.

For the past four years, she has been working on ways to translate technical scientific research on this topic into gardeners’ language.

She currently has a proposal for an article on “The Volatile Language of Plants” accepted by American Gardener, a publication of the American Horticultural Society, and hopes someday to organize the research she’s accumulated into a book for gardeners.

The Master Gardener Brown Bag series is on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.

For more information, call 360-417-2279.

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