“And yet something transmits the information pretty efficiently. Morris has a hunch it’s all those microscopic fungi. She and her colleagues believe that common mycorrhizal networks provide a clear communication channel, allowing infochemicals to zip around the impediments between plants. To prove that hypothesis, she’s done some crafty gardening…”
That’s a fascinating area of research. I wonder if it could be exploited in pest control by using the signaling mechanisms to trigger plant defenses when you detect that a pest is present?
I’m thinking it may be the mechanism behind supporting companion planting…
Btw, the original book discussing plant communication, even with humans, is based on the 1973 book: The Secret Life of Plants.
I remember that book. Still some controversial claims in there around human-plant telepathy, if I recall.
There’s actually a lot of reasons to use mixed cropping.
- Pests are usually limited to certain host species based on their biology. Mixed crops makes it harder for them to navigate and find food. Mixed crops also increase the diversity of predatory populations in turn.
- Mycorrhizae and subsurface fungi have a diversity of food options and can transport nutrients around in exchange for food.
- Different crops have different effects on soil composition. Mixed crops often mitigate damage that one plant can cause with replacement from another plant. For example, tobacco is a crop that sucks a lot of nitrogen, but legumes (bean family) often put nitrogen in the soil.
New paradigms always bring controversy, until the holders of old paradigms die off!
Was anyone ever able to reproduce his results? Or isolate the chemical signals between humans and plants?
You might find this interesting… I could write a thesis on this topic - as a ‘beyond organic’ market gardener and farmer the fungal layer is essential. The more one delves into it the more amazing it is…
And if you haven’t seen this - it is worth the 20 mins to get a great overview of what fungi can do for us…
Oh, there’s a lot of chemical signals between plants and animals. However, most plants are interested in insects and other pollinators. Some components found in pollen influence bee and ant behavior, for example. They will often encourage bees to travel to the same species of flower (encouraging reproduction) and will encourage ants to defend the plant (usually in exchange for sap or shelter).
Most plants aren’t that interested in those of us that eat them though. They try to make themselves bitter and emit pheromone deterrents for that reason.
Singing plants at Damanhur and now, around the world indicate so.
Perhaps you should get an interface and try for yourself:
another one worth reading…
this one too…
and if you want to learn from one of the soil food web masters - do this course or delve into the writings around the topic. the soil under your feet is alive and dynamic.