Earth Day Special: Can plants communicate?
Today we’re celebrating Earth Day by exploring some of the most important organisms on our planet - plants.
Did you know that plants can communicate? This is nothing new to plant scientists, although the extent of their communication has been revealed in much more depth in recent studies. After millions upon millions of years of evolution, it is no surprise that plants have established such complex connections to each other and the world around them.
Here are a few fascinating examples.
- Plants can produce chemical defences to deter their attackers, making them taste terrible or become toxic.
- Plants can summon predators of the pests that are eating them.
- Plants can produce chemical defences to deter their attackers.
- Plants can send roots in the direction of their offspring to provide them with nutrition.
- Plant roots will shift root directions to avoid obstacles.
- Plants produce audible sounds and react to the sound of caterpillars chewing the leaves of other plants.
Seemingly unlikely discoveries in plant communication have been occurring regularly and I expect there will be many more to come.
If there is one thing you can do this year to help the planet, think about growing some plants, especially fruits and vegetables. Because plants are so good at communicating with one another, you can use companion planting to help your plants grow and not compete with one another. By growing food in your own back yard and community, you are eliminating the need for food to travel to you and cutting down on fossil fuel emissions.