Plants monitor underground signals and react to neighbors’ stresses, study finds

Image credit: Dimitrije Markovic/PLOS ONE

Plants are more sensitive than they might seem. Although they stay in one spot, they are monitoring and reacting to the world around them; in some cases, they even remember the stresses and stimuli of the past. They’re also aware of the community of plants around them, and in a new paper, published in PLOS ONE, a team of scientists shows how plants monitor underground signals and react to the stresses their neighbors experience, too. How do plants react, they wondered, when they know a nearby plant has been touched?

You could think of it sort of like gossip: One plant warns the others that it’s been touched and that there’s competition over in its direction. But [ lead author Velemir Ninkovic, a senior lecturer at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences] says he tends to think the right analogy is listening.


When Ninkovic first started working in this field, he says, he was skeptical of the idea of plant-plant communication. But over the past several years, a growing body of evidence has shown that plants are paying much more attention, in their particular plant way, to the world around them than we ever realized.

Read full, original post: Plants Are Communicating With Each Other Using Underground Signals

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