The headline “Plants Talk. Plants Listen” caught my eye this morning. What followed was a fascinating article on a plant’s ability to ‘warn’ it’s neighbors of an aphid attack. Taking it one step further, scientists believe that the chemicals released when the plant is under attack may also attract beneficial wasps.
According to the article:
These chemicals come from the injured parts of the plant and seem to be an alarm. Maybe not an intentional warning like, “Watch Out! Aphid Attack!” but more like a simple distress call like, “Aphids! Aphids! Aphids!” or, “Attack! Attack!” The chemicals the plants pump through the air are a blend of organic molecules — alcohols, aldehydes, ketones and esters — known as volatile organic compounds, VOCs for short.
Not only do plants use airborne chemicals, they send signals underground, through their roots. Some make ultrasonic “clicking” sounds. What feels to us like a quiet day in the forest may in fact be a hurly-burly of wafting, pulsing, clicking plant-to-plant communication.
If you’re as intrigued as I am, I encourage you to read the entire article. The drawings are hilarious, too. NPR: Robert Krulwich on Science
Meanwhile, I’ve been doing my own communing with the garden and trying to pull myself out of a slump. Onward.