A few weeks ago we introduced our readers to Monica Gagliano, the scientist who studies plant communication. This week, we delve deeper into the elusive lives of plants and bring you a story about resource sharing in sunflowers. Researchers at the University of Alberta have found that when sunflowers are placed alone, they extend long root systems, but when they are placed in a patch with other sunflower plants, their root systems are shallower, allowing all the plants to share the soil’s nutrients.
Plants were once thought to exist in isolation, exempt from the interaction we witness in animals. However, more and more research is surfacing to show that plants possess unique and intricate communication systems. From sharing resources to protecting themselves from predators, these foliaged friends seem to be sharing more than just soil, but survival information as well.