Thursday, 3 May 2018

Whispering glades?


A study with corn plants has convinced some scientists that plants communicate through their roots (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/may/02/plants-talk-to-each-other-through-their-roots). It appeared that the plants sent out chemicals to their neighbours, encouraging them to put on a growth spurt when they were relatively crowded. This all sounds a bit altruistic (not much 'nature red in tooth and claw'). Perhaps plants are more 'hippy' than animals? An alternative explanation is that the growing plants cannot avoid chemically informing the other members of the crop of their efforts and this stimulates their neighbours to try and keep up to avoid being out-shaded.

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