How plants commucate with each other Part 1
The social life of plants
Yes you read correctly, plants do have a social life and are connected to each other.
The only difference is, they do not communicate like animals or human beings.
Plants communicate via chemical messengers.
They let neighboring plants know for example if they have been touched.
On this way agricultural plants can organize their growth properly.
Instead of talking like we do, plants are using chemical messengers by realeasing them through leaves and roots. These messenger substances reach other plants in their environment through the air or the soil. Scientists are finding out more and more how sophisticated this chemical communication is.
How plants warn each other of tightness
The message of maize plants in the current study by the Univeristy of Uppsala in Sweden could be in human language:
"Pretty tight here. Someone ist constantly nudging me. So neighbours, think carefully about where you are growing to!"
Touches are important signals for plants
In the same study, scientists have simulated the situation that the leaves of different maize plants collide and showed: The corn plants notice when they are touched.
In previous studies, other plants, such as tomatoes or herbs, had already been shown that touching affected the growth of the plants. It changes the metabolism.
Seemlings like it calm
In the case of maize plants scientists have now been able to show that the roots of frequently touched plants also emit chemical signals. These substances are transmitted through the soil and moisture. So plants do not only perceive that they have been touched, they even talk about it to others via their roots. And the plants in the area around react.
Discuss about who grows where
Whenever the roots of a young seedling attempted to grow either towards another plant that was touched or towards a plant that has not been touched it grew significantly more often in the direction of the untouched plant. The touch messengers acted as a deterrent to the seedling. They seem to warn of tightness in the ground.
Scientists still have to analyze these experiments and the messenger substances in more detail. However it is conceivable that plants actually use chemical substances to coordinate, which plant grows where and make a better use of the habitat.
Get right to part 2 by clicking here