Spicy food has lots of benefits for hulking humans. That's just one reason grown-ups acquire a taste not only for gin but also dark coffee and Tabasco sauce. The plants we think of as aromatic, that we use to liven up our dinners, contain volatile oils and chemical compounds. Those oils and compounds are "interesting," we say, "exotic." They tickle our taste buds. They spur our appetites. They're not quite so sexy if you're a smaller mammal or an insect, however, say a caterpillar or a rabbit, for whom chewing on a jalapeño is like eating a poison ivy salad: if it doesn't kill you outright, it'll at least make you uncomfortable enough that on your next garden foray you'll recall that you prefer romaine heads to habaneros, carrots to curry leaves. So cinnamon and pepper plants are well defended from all pests but one. They don't call us... More >>>