Plants Warn Other Plants When They Are Under Pressure or Under Attack: study

It’s true, plants are not like animals – they don’t have reflexes or muscles, but they are not just chilling every day either.

We know for sure that damage can trigger a signal that spreads through the plant, and it activates its defensive response. Part of it stands in the release of organic compounds.

There’s new research there that comes with many details about those compounds. They signal other plants, which are near them, that there’s a threat that they cannot avoid. This way, they go into defensive mode, too. It’s like a cry for help.

This new study shows that the chemical compounds which are released are similar in the plants which had been attacked, and they don’t have to be related.

It’s like they have their own language when they are under pressure, which allows them to warn other plants. They have the same warning signs, and they share them freely. This exchange of info depends on how close the plant is to the other plant it tries to warn.

The scientists led their experiments in the natural environment of the plants – a field – by using individual potted plants. In the center of the group, there was a single plant, which was hurt by a leaf beetle, which started to eat its goldenrods. The plant was covered with a fabric sleeve. They allowed the researches to avoid tactile communication. The very same experiment was also done, but this time with a plant that was undamaged.

How did they do it?

After some weeks, since the plant started to be damaged, the team got the compound emissions, which they covered in a polyethylene sleeve. This way, it pulled air over them for about 6 hours, and the air was filtered through the charcoal traps.

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