Why do “weeds” grow so much more quickly and without any nurturing compared to plants/crops?


Why do “weeds” grow so much more quickly and without any nurturing compared to plants/crops?

In: Biology

We choose plants to call “food” because they make a lot of the fruit or seed we want to eat. Plants that don’t do that are “weeds”. However, not making those fruits/seeds takes less energy.

“Weeds” are hardy things that can grow anywhere – and usually do. Crops and flowers are more delicate things, and require TLC that weeds don’t. Kind of like snake babies are ready to snek around immediately after birth, but human babies need care and feeding until they are 25 or so.

Most of the plants we want, in our yard for example, are brought from other climates or regions making then more difficult to grow especially when you’re looking for the most perfect document.

Weeds on the other hand will usually be growing exactly where they grow best because wherever they are is where they’re adapted to. There’s also no concern for wether the weed is a quality weed or an ugly one. Plus humans tend to inflate the negatives around then so weeds would psychologically be more prominent than they are wether they actually are prominent or not.

As another commenter said, they also grow super easy and fast because they don’t have fruits or nuts or in many cases even flowers to use energy on growing.

TLDR: Weeds are generally native to the area, grow easily and fast and psychologically stand out more since they’re a nuisance.

We have carefully selected our crops to produce large yields. This is economically costly to the plant. Plants in nature don’t produce yields like that because natural selection penalises that kind of economic investment. We ensure that it is beneficial for the plant through carefully removing competitors, inputs of fertilizer and water etc.

A weed, on the other hand, has survived for generations of being unnaturally selected against. All the resources that a cropped plant puts into seeds/fruits etc, the weed will put into being hardy, being resistant to herbicides or pests, being difficult to uproot (ever tried to uproot a dandelion?).

Weeds aren’t just better at surviving because they haven’t been weakened by human selection. They are tougher because *humans have unconsciously selected them for toughness*

If you really think about it, the only difference between a weed and a plant is whether or not you want it there.

Probably because we find things that grow uncontrollably to be undesirable and we therefore define them as “weeds”. That seems like a bit of a back-door explanation, but I think it’s satisfactory.

Because they have to, or they wouldn’t survive. Every living species trys its damned best to survive in this world, weeds are unwanted, and have been unwanted, for thousands of years, so they’ve been evolving under the conditions of being unwanted, so they thrive better than wanted crops. Could you imagine a world without corn? Of course not, it will never go extinct, so theres no real survival of the fittest going on there

Fun fact: a lot of what we consider weeds are actually edible and high in various nutrients. The downside is that they usually outcompete other crops.

It is pretty simple. All soil has seeds in it. If it is untended soil in your yard, it may have hundreds of seeds per sq meter.

So basically the most viable and adapted seeds to whatever weather you are having sprout and grow like crazy. Usually this is not the one seed you planted hahaha. That’s why we call it a weed.

If the weather was completely different, you’d get a completely different set of weeds.

Even if you buy composted potting soil from the store.. that might also contain seeds (although usually fewer cause it was composted).

In addition to weeds being tough (as mentioned in other comments), they are also diverse.

When you see clover growing in one location, thistles growing in a second, and quackgrass growing in a third, you call it “weeds growing everywhere”, when each species actually has a (somewhat) restricted habitat.