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Grandpa Greenman

Plants Recognize Siblings

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Plants Recognize Siblings

By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 14 June 2007 08:53 am ET

Plants can recognize when they are potted with their siblings or with strangers, new research shows. When strangers share a pot, they develop a competitive streak, but siblings are more considerate of each other.

“The ability to recognize and favor kin is common in animals, but this is the first time it has been shown in plants,” said Susan Dudley of McMaster University in Canada.

After plants are potted, roots branch out to suck up water and nutrients. But when several plants of the same species are potted together, things get a little nasty: Each plant flexes its muscles, so to speak, by extending its root growth to try and snatch up valuable resources.

Unless, that is, the plants are siblings—each having come from the same mother plant—in which case they become very accommodating, allowing each other ample root space.

Because the interactions between related and unrelated plants only happened when plants were in the same pot, where root space is limited, root interactions are likely what gives plants the cue that their neighbor is related.

Dudley observed this behavior in sea rocket (Cakile edentula), a member of the mustard family that is native to beaches through North America.

The findings, detailed in the June 12 issue of Biology Letters, may not come as a surprise to seasoned gardeners.

“Gardeners have known for a long time that some pairs of species get along better than others, and scientists are starting to catch up with why that happens,” Dudley said. “The more we know about plants, the more complex their interactions seem to be.”

http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/070...t_siblings.html

I thought this was rather interesting.

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Well, I'm glad that plants can get along with thier siblings.. I sure can't.

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That's VERY interesting! Thanks for that, Darkwind. :)

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^ agreed, what an awesome article. I'd never even considered the fact that plants born from the seeds of the same mother plant were therefore "related"... though it makes sense when put that way ^_^

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thats awsome... question is how.................

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thats awsome... question is how.................

That is my question too. Unless plants are more complex than we think which wouldn't surprise me.

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That is my question too. Unless plants are more complex than we think which wouldn't surprise me.

My guess would be chemical signalling. Plants communicate through chemical signalling quite a lot. For example, the old adage that you shouldn't put apples together with bananas because the bananas ripen faster is true (reversely you can obviously put apples with green bananas to make them ripen faster...stating the obvious here, I know)

The phytohormone, or growth promoter, ethylene is responsible for that. It is a gas, and is produced by (climacteric) fruit like apples, tomatoes & bananas. So, in a way, the fruits are talking to each other...cool, isn't it?

I love plants. :) They're so much more civilized than humans...

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Alot of the time yes, especially know that we know that they dont kill close relatives..... unlike some species i know......... cough cough humans...

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This is simply amazing. The world, and all her creatures, are fascinating.

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