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Plants ‘talk’ to other plants to help them grow

Plants communicate with each through physical contact, chemical and light-mediated signals. Now it seems that having a friendly “chinwag” also makes plants grow better.

A group of researchers noticed that blocked chilli seeds grew significantly better with basil plants.

This suggests that plants are talking to each other via nanomechanical vibrations.

In the absence of a neighbouring plant, germination rates were very low, but when the plants were able to openly communicate with the seeds, more seedlings grew.

Read more at University of Western Australia

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3 Comments sorted by

  1. Lynne Newington


    David Attenborough certainly made us aware of the validity of "plant talk" with his series that included the Private life of Plants, the un-ending story of nature.
    These day's with so many living busy lives I quess there's no time to ponder which is a pity.

  2. Liam J

    logged in via email

    Fascinating! i wonder if this effect can be seen in monocropped annuals. Might germination of e.g wheat be to some extent 'contagious', in that early germinators encourage nearby germinations?

    1. ɐdɐʇɹɐnb ssıɐʇ

      IT Architect & Agribusiness Consultant

      In reply to Liam J

      There was an experiment done in the late 60s/early 70s (unfortunately without the usual scientific rigour) that showed an increase in in plant growth through just that phenomena.

      In one experiment, playing a low level soundtrack of twilight crickets chirping prior to a rainfall in one corner of the greenhouse showed the plants in that vicinity opening stoma in readiness of a rain. That "stoma readiness response" was seen to then slowly spread on the peripheries of the immediate plant grouping ... like a chinese whisper if you like.

      Obviously stricter scientific measures need to be taken to study this further, but articles like this just lead me to think we are trying to catch up with understanding it all.