We tend to think of plants as very simple living beings, incapable of things like feeling or communicating. However, that thought is long out of date. Today it has been more than demonstrated that plants not only feel, but are capable of communicating, both with each other and with their environment. But what is plant communication? What language do plants use to communicate?
If you want to learn more about plant communication , join us in this interesting AgroCorrn article to discover how plants communicate with each other and with their environment.
Do plants communicate?
As we have said, it is currently shown that plants feel and communicate . Obviously, they do not do it like us or most animals, but they certainly do it in their own way and this allows plants to survive, adapt and evolve.
If we take into account that communication is, according to one of the meanings of the RAE, “the transmission of signals by means of a common code to the sender and the receiver”, we cannot make a mistake when affirming that Yes, plants communicate .
So it seems logical to ask ourselves: do plants make sounds? Well, although it seems very curious or strange, they do. These are sounds inaudible to the human ear, but a recent study shows that they emit them, and that this is one of the many ways they communicate.
We also recommend reading this other post on Do plants feel pain?
How plants communicate with each other
Plants have two main ways of communicating with each other : compounds or biochemical substances and sounds.
Communication of plants with biochemical compounds
The language of plants , also known as allelopathy , is the main means of communication by which most plant species communicate with each other. This allelopathy consists of the process by which a plant is capable of producing different types of biochemical compounds that have the capacity to affect the growth, reproduction or survival of other organisms close to it.
That is, a plant can produce terpenoids, which are compounds that make it difficult for other plants to grow in the area. In this way, the bearer plant informs the others that they will prefer to expand to other fields, giving the bearer plant more space to obtain nutrients.
Similarly, allelopathy can be used by plants to attract other plants or species that are beneficial, either because they grow better together or because they help avoid predators.
Plants can also communicate by emitting these volatile organic compounds to adapt to different environmental circumstances. For example, if they are attacked by a pest or predator, they will produce substances that make their taste less palatable, while also releasing the signal for other nearby plants to produce them as well.
Studies have also been made related to the salinity of the environment, in such a way that plants exposed to high salinity, harmful to them, closed their pores and took a response to fight against it, but so did nearby plants not exposed to this salinity of so direct. These volatile organic compounds can be transmitted both through the air and underground, depending on the specific circumstances.
Communication of plants with sounds
Finally, as we said before, there is communication by sounds. Recent studies have shown that plants communicate by ultrasound . Thus, when a plant suffers or is stressed, it emits sounds of ultrasonic frequency. It is believed that these sounds can be used to transmit the information of the danger situation to other plants.
The study  was done by observing tobacco and tomato plants, to which microphones with the ability to detect ultrasound had been placed. It was shown that when the plants were in a drought situation or their stems were cut, the sound appeared, produced by cavitation, when small air bubbles were formed and exploded in the xylem.
How plants communicate with the environment
Plants also have different ways of communicating with the environment that surrounds them. They are able to detect the difference between top and bottom, something vital for their correct growth, and they do so thanks to the fact that starch granules are always stored at the bottom of the cells by the action of gravity, which allows them to know in what direction grow.
Similarly, plants have photoreceptors that allow them to distinguish between different sources of light. Thus, they can grow in the direction in which there is greater light, thus having less competition with other plants in the environment for sunlight.
If we ask ourselves how plants communicate with humans or other living beings , in the previous section, when we talked about allelopathy , we found the same answer. By producing compounds that worsen the taste, they seek to ward off predatory animals, or attract pollinating insects to their flowers and even consumers of ripe fruits to spread their seeds. In addition, the recent discovery of the sounds emitted by cavitation opens a lot of possibilities in the field of crops.
Examples of communication between plants
An example of this communication would be that of acacias , which when they are attacked by ruminants to feed on them, they emit ethylene , which causes nearby acacias to increase their production of tannins, thus activating their defense systems.
There are also plants that secrete aromatic-type substances when attacked by pests or predators, which stimulate a similar response in other nearby plants to deter the attacker, and that is that they may be able to distinguish the type of attacker that threatens them and adapt your answer to it.
If you want to learn more about these living beings and know the basics to expand your knowledge, we encourage you to discover the Origin and evolution of plants , which, as we have said before, of course, is related to their ability to communicate between them. and with its environment. Also, here below you can see a summary video on this interesting topic.
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