Many plants accumulate large amounts of silicon in their bodies, which plays multiple roles in plant ecology. One such role is antiherbivory defense. Since plant-herbivore interactions are a major driver of ecology and evolution, there is great interest in the ecology and evolution of this unique role of plant silicon. The international journal plants dedicates a special issue to this topic, and we are happy to say that this issue includes a paper by Dr. Ofir Katz, the Dead Sea branch ecologist and a plant silicon expert. Ofir reviews the theoretical and practical tools required for achieving a full and balanced picture of this phenomenon’s evolution, as well as of its significance for past, present and future ecosystems. The review offers a peek into the complexity of understanding evolutionary history in general and of tracing the origins of ecological traits and phenomena.