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Did You Know?
In Did You Know? the National Geographic magazine team shares extra information we gathered to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects.

Whether a human being, plant, or insect, you learn to be resourceful when you live in a poor neighborhood. Plants that call serpentine soil home have developed ways to cope with an environment that is low in essential nutrients such as calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, but high in metals such as magnesium, nickel, and iron. One plant, Streptanthus polygaloides, has turned this situation to its advantage. It accumulates large amounts of nickel and sequesters it in its tissues. When leaf-chewing insects such as grasshoppers come to feed, some can find their dinner fatal. In turn, one plant bug has evolved the ability to tolerate the high concentration of nickel in S. polygaloides leaves, making its body toxic to some of its own predators.

—Heidi Schultz