Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Commonly Consumed Substances Is Actually A Pesticide?

Alcohol
Aspirin
Caffeine
Dextrose
A large pile of roasted coffee beans.
Popo le Chien/Wikimedia

Answer: Caffeine

You most likely know caffeine as the substance that gives you a boost in your morning cup of coffee (or, perhaps if it doesn’t sit well with you, gives you a bad case of the jitters). The fact that caffeine does anything at all to the human body is merely a curious biological coincidence, however, and caffeine’s role in the natural world is that of a pesticide.

You read that correctly: although caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world, it isn’t a pick-me-up for plants like it is for humans and, in fact, exists in plants to ward off predators. Although most closely associated with coffee plants, caffeine is present in approximately sixty plants including the leaves of the tea bush, kola nuts, yaupon holly leaves, and seeds from Amazonian maple guarana berries. While the substance acts as a stimulate in humans, in insects it causes paralysis and even death, and functions as an effective pesticide for the diverse number of temperate climate plants around the world that produce it.

On a related note, another widely consumed drug is also a pesticide (insecticide): nicotine. The active ingredient in cigarettes is used by tobacco plants as a pesticide just like caffeine. Historically, nicotine was even sold in powdered form for use in farming, but is no longer on the market due to toxicity concerns.

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Medieval Cities Had A Modern Looking Skyline With Towering Buildings?

Trivia

Hard

A Heat Burst Is An Incredibly Rare Atmospheric Phenomenon Associated With?

Trivia

Easy

What Modern Exercise Device Was Originally Used To Punish Prisoners?

Trivia

Hard

The Peace Symbol Is A Stylized Representation Of?

Trivia

Hard

According To Forbes Magazine The Richest Fictional Character Is?

Trivia

Hard

Which U.S. State Is The Flattest?

Trivia

Hard

Florida Prisons Have Helped Solve Crimes By Distributing What To Inmates?

Trivia

Hard

Which Serial Killer Was Caught Via The Metadata In A Microsoft Word Document?

Trivia

Hard

Despite The Common Belief, The Word Sushi Does Not Refer To Raw Fish But?

Trivia

Very Hard

The First Female Computer Programmers Were Called What?