“…journal Science, researchers say they have found spotted knapweed’s deadly secret: a potent and previously unknown poison that it releases through its roots into the soil to kill off neighboring plants”

“… within 10 seconds of contact the neighboring plants’ roots begin producing chemicals that set off a cascade of events that will ultimately kill their own cells.”

A few days later the plant is dead, and then the field.

“One plant arrives in a field where there are a lot of native plants,” Dr. Vivanco said. “The next year you see not one, but actually a patch of spotted knapweed where the natives were. And if there are still native plants near it, they don’t look so healthy.”

A few years later the entire eco-system is destroyed.

“…Montana … vast monoculture of spotted knapweed, Dr. Vivanco said, as have millions of acres in that particularly hard-hit state.”

“…elk herds have altered migration pathways to avoid vast inedible swaths of it.”

Allelopathy isn’t unknown as a business method. For example here’s a tiny firm pumping a powerful toxin into the soil provided by Internet browsers – soil that in turn supports the entire Web eco-system. Then, of course, there is a long tradition of powerful firms – ah – managing the air supply‘ of the complementary products in “their” eco-systems.

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