I just watched one of the most interesting Nature shows to date. And no animal violence, go figure! /just a little snarky
The program was on plants and their ability to communicate with one another.
It started with showing a plant that could not produce its own food, so it was basically a vampire plant that sucked the life out of other plants. It seemed to prefer certain plants over others–the tomato being one of them. The scientists performed an experiment where they placed the vampire plant in the middle, with the tomato plant on one side, and another plant placed on the other side.
Using time-lapse photography, they showed the vampire plant doing this little whirling dance around and around until it finally latched onto the tomato plant. It did this 9 times out of 10. So, it basically chose the tomato plant. Isn’t that interesting?
Then they went on to another plant in the west that was making a nuisance of itself. The name escapes me, but it has destroyed native grasses that the cattle farmers rely on to feed the cattle. The scientists were trying to find out why this particular plant was able to thrive. The rancher pulled up a plant by its roots, and showed a small worm/larvae just going to town on the roots…and yet the plant was still thriving. So there had to be another reason the plant was able to fend for itself. They discovered that it was sending out chemicals via its roots that killed off other competitor plants’ roots. Isn’t that amazing?
They also said they knew that plants sent off scents, but they discovered that they also send off warning scents, or what amounts to a “scream” by the plant when they are being attacked. They illustrated this by stating that the smell associated with freshly mowed grass is the grass “screaming” from being attacked. The theory is that the plants are trying to warn the other plants that they are being attacked. The other plants in the area beef up their defense mechanisms. Wow.
Finally, they wondered about “mother” trees aiding her “babies”. The theory wasn’t new, they said, but they hadn’t been able to prove it. So, a research team injected radioactive carbon into a douglas fir and then went back after a time with a geiger counter to see where the carbon ended up. They found the most concentrated amount in baby firs nearby. They also found it in carbon “trails” to other firs in the area that belonged to the same plant family. I had one issue, though, with this–and this may have been done, but the program didn’t show it–they didn’t run the geiger counter on the ground or around the trees before injecting the fir with the radioactive material. This, to me, would have been a “control” to make sure that the radioactivity wasn’t already there from, God forbid, Fukushima or some other source.
So…all of this is not news to the Native Americans, whom have always believed that plants had a “life”. Everything is connected–plants, too.
Yeah, we’re slow as always in catching up to the wisdom. But at least we’re getting there. 🙂