Strong communities are difficult to maintain in the face of constant external threats.
How does nature provide a safe context for active communal activities?
The Spiny plumeless thistle is a (annual or biennial) herbaceous plant that grows to 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall. It is an invader of pastures and other disturbed areas throughout parts of the western, central, and northeastern United States, as well as southern Canada. The flower stems are branched with spiny wings extending to the flower heads.
The thistle protects itself and its hosted organisms through sharp, spiny wings. Few larger creatures (deer, elk) would enjoy eating the plant. It invests heavily in protection- unappealing to predation and resistant to biotic and abiotic pressures through strong and flexible thorns and skin. It uses a low-energy, wind-powered propagation strategy through high-quantity dispersal of lightweight seed carriers designed for flight. Protected stalk provides and ideal environment for multiple insect species to foster communal relationships. Aphids feed on the plants sugars and produce honeydew for ants. The ants protect the aphids from ladybugs and other predators.
Sharp extensions protrude from core to provide protection form external forces, allowing for a safe core surface for habitation.
Invest in efficient strategies: energy is invested more heavily in defense (spikes, thorns) than in seed dispersal/propagation. Seeds are dispersed using wind energy as the seeds are very lightweight and incorporate flight mechanisms/materials (designed to fly far). The energy saved from efficient seed dispersal strategy is invested in incredible defense.
Community design and urban planning: protected space for communal growth
Social network strategies: informing resource allocation, security and growth strategies
Habitat design: secured spaces that facilitate symbiotic relationships