The Secret Life of Trees

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A few years ago I read an article that put forth the notion that root systems were used by trees to help seedlings grow. The root systems of similar trees were beneficial to each other instead of competitive. We had always assumed “teeth and claw” of nature. At the time I was out of my head on certain medications–prednisone and cytoxan–so I was not sure if I read or dreamed the article.

I have to admit that I considered the idea that plants helped each other by the root system and that they had a kind of brain was intriguing and sort of science fiction. Recently I found this BBC article Plants have a Hidden Internet even more intriguing.

According to this article plants of various species send information through the root system and fungi. It is an information superhighway connecting diverse plants so that they can supply information and nutrients to each other. The fungi can also supply a toxic chemical to keep the area free of certain noxious invaders.  Plus the fungi help the immune system of a beneficial plant.

Interestingly this idea of a fungi internet has been around since the 1970s.

The intriguing part of it is that it means that there is something more happening in the plant world than we have ever considered. They do communicate with each other. They do help each other.

So since my mind turns to fantasy/sci-fi, I could see our next contact will be with plants in other worlds or even here. We are so mammal-centric. I wonder if the plants think we are speciests.

 

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