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Plant Tricksters

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Plant TrickstersBy Janet Halfmann
Scholastic/Watts Library, 2003
ISBN: 978-1439524558 (Library Binding)
ISBN: 978-0531163719 (Paperback)
Ages 9-12, Grades 5-7, nonfiction

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The Book

It's fun to play tricks on your friends. But for plants, tricky ways are necessary to survive. Here are some plant tricksters:

  • Orchids that look like female bees to attract male bees to spread the flowers’ pollen.
  • Desert plants that look like stones so animals won’t steal their water.
  • Dead horse arums that smell like rotten meat to attract blowfly pollinators.
  • Skyrocket flowers that change color with the seasons to attract different pollinators.
  • Daisies that make an armyworm sick as it spends time in the sun.
  • Corn plants that use odor signals to call wasps to rescue them from caterpillars.
  • Squirting cucumbers that shoot their seeds like a rocket.

The Story Behind the Book

I have been interested in plants since childhood, growing up on a farm in mid-Michigan. Back then, I squatted in the farm field with my dad to check how much the corn or wheat had grown. Now I spend much of my time in my garden or checking out the plants along the creek near my home.


  • "Large, brightly colored close-up photos ranging from beautiful to bizarre are nicely placed to support the well-written narratives." —School Library Journal
  • "beautifully written and informative." —Science Books and Films

Interviews with Janet

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