Plants Communication


Communicationbetween plants is a common phenomenon there is a lot of informationexchanged between plants of the same species, as well as betweenplants belonging to different species. The communication that happensbetween one plant and another takes place through the roots, funginetworks, as well as via chemical signals. There are parasitic plantsthat exchange information using the molecular level in their host.The exchange of molecules between plants enhances the creation ofopen dialogue, as well as free communication between the plants. Someof the messages exchanged between parasitic plants relate to whatought to be done by the host plant. For example, the parasitic plantmay exchange information on the need for the host plant to lower itsdefenses to enable the parasitic plant attack the target easily (Hall153).

Theexchange of information between plants also happens among hostplants. There is a tendency for host plants to send caution messages,warning each other of the probability that they will be attacked byparasites that will damage them. For example, poplars, willow trees,as well as sugar maples can warn one another about the possibility ofbeing attacked by insects. This allows trees that have not yet beenattacked to release chemicals that help them defend against insectattacks. Since the trees are aware of what is happening to theirneighbors, they develop mechanisms to allow them react to the effectsof attack by insects. The implication of this is that the capacity ofplants to communicate resembles that of human beings. This can beattributed to the fact that, although trees do not have brains, theycan send messages, receive information, as well as interpret theinformation they receive and decode the sender’s message and itscontent (Witzany 173).

Thecommunication between plants is mediated by the use of signals, whichcommunicate unique messages. The use of electrical pulses can beregarded as a commonly used signal in plant communication. Thiscommunication signal is voltage-based and emulates the communicationwithin the nervous systems of humans and other animals. In order totell other plants that there is an insect infesting them, a plant maydecide to lower the nutritional quality of its leaves. This ensuresthat worms are discouraged from attacking the plant and sends amessage to other plants that they should do the same to avoid insectattacks. The use of hormones has also been very instrumental in plantcommunication. For example, some plants release hormones to deal withbacterial infections. Plant communication also involves the sendingof airborne messages. This mostly happens when plants communicatewith other organisms such as insects. For instance, there are plantsthat send messages, which are distress signals that keep off insectsand reduce the probability of an attack (Baluška and Velemir 128).

Mankindcan reap immense benefits from the communication between plantsexploiting the communication between plants can help solve most ofthe problems that affect farmers. With good knowledge of the eventsthat take place when plants communicate, humans can know when certaininsects or diseases strike and devise appropriate strategies toaddress the damage caused by insects. This way, farmers can spray theappropriate herbicides and fungicides to prevent insects and plantdiseases. The behavior of plants can guide farmers on what to do andhelp them know the insect that is planning to attack their plants.


Baluška,Frantisekand Velemir, Ninkovic. PlantCommunication from an Ecological Perspective.Heidelberg: Springer, 2010. Print.

Hall,Mathew. Plantsas Persons: A Philosophical Botany.London: SUNY Press, 2011. Print. Witzany,Gunther. Plant Communication from Biosemiotic Perspective Differencesin Abiotic and Biotic Signal Perception Determine Content Arrangementof Response Behavior. Context Determines Meaning of Meta-, Inter- andIntraorganismic Plant Signaling. PlantSignal Behav.1.4 (2006): 169–178. Print.