• Joan Rothchild Hardin

How Do Plants Communicate with Each Other?

Source: The Scientist

We may not think of plants as being at all social but it turns out they are. Scientists have discovered that plants communicate with each other and have some ingenious ways of doing it — through both the air and the soil. Botanists know that many trees do not grow well near members of their own species but didn’t know how they could tell which plants were growing nearby. A recent study found they are able to engage in plant-soil feedback and are reacting to soil-dwelling microorganisms near the trees’ roots. Other plants, such as sagebrush, prefer to grow near others of their kind. This allows them to communicate with their neighbors by sending out airborne chemicals from their foliage and branches that help them collectively fend off herbivores, such as caterpillars and grasshoppers. (Ross, 2011) The graphic below from The Scientist illustrates the various methods plants use for communicating with each other.


Since the text in the graphic will probably be too small for you to read unless you’ve got considerably better than 20/20 vision, here is what it