Can Plants Talk?
This week we hack the secret plant communication network “The Wood Wide Web”. And, digging deeper we discover their many extraordinary senses.
David in Bogota might have raised a few eyebrows in the CrowdScience office with his questions – can plants talk? And can they hear us talking to them? But actually scientists now know that plants do have the ability to communicate with the world around them to a much greater extent than previously thought. Some scientists even talk about plants being able to “hear” a hungry caterpillar or the sound of running water, while others argue that we should not anthropomorphise plants.
One underground communication network, affectionately dubbed the Wood Wide Web by scientists, is made of fungi that grow off the roots of plants. The network lets plants forge alliances, friendships and business partners.
But as we learn nothing is free in nature. In return for their haulage services, the fungi which make up the network siphons off some of the sugar produced during photosynthesis by the plants. Presenter Anand Jagatia goes foraging for answers in the woods together with fungal ecologists.
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Presenter: Anand Jagatia
Producer: Louisa Field
(Image: Misty path running through woodland. Credit: Getty Images)