How Can Plants Recognize Their Siblings
Remember the science classes from schools? Didn’t we all read that plants are living things? Well, rarely do we realise that there’s life in trees! Would you believe if you were told that plants could reckon who their siblings are? Don’t be surprised because it is a fact. There’s no magic or trick camouflaged in the sentence that plants do acknowledge the existence of siblings. Of course, trees don’t have eyes popping out to see or watch what kith and kin look like, but there’s certainly a feeling in play. Hence the term ‘Living Things.’
Brothers and sisters are the best company. True, we are mostly the devils looking like ninjas, battling out our entire childhood, but don’t we love the tattles of our tales? Weirdly, plants show-off a very similar behavioural pattern. When you pot plant siblings together or close by, there’s not a colossal increase in root growth. On the contrary, pot a plant with strange neighbours, you can easily sense competition in root interactions. Not very sure what that means? Plant families and human families are not much different. All the actions happen underneath the surface. When there’s rivalry among plants, there’s a rapid hike in root growth.
Before talking more about plant siblings, let us dig deep and learn about the genesis of the observation.
Who Were the First to Discover?
It all dates back to the year 2007 when Canadian researchers came up with a discovery that left most in the world dumbfounded. The subject used in the observation is a popular seashore plant, known as the sea rocket. Wondering what the studies show? Well, when seeds from the same plant or the mother plant were sowed in the soil, the plants or sea rocket played real nice. Instead of roots, fanning out all across the surface, to compete and abate the growth of the other plant, it barred excessive growth of roots. However, when the same plant was potted in soil with a stranger plant, there was a quick increase in the growth of roots. Do you realise the purpose here? Well, plants grow roots to imbibe moisture and nutrients from the soil. With increased counts of roots, plant families show rivalry as well.
How do the Greens Recognize their Siblings?
Plant siblings or not, no tree is equipped with visible sensory markers. Trees cannot see who their neighbour plant is. The question that pops up here is, how do plants acknowledge their siblings? Well, it all happens when the living greens secrete chemicals from their roots. The plant recognises the chemical, also known as ‘Exudates’ and recognises siblings from strangers. A spell of nature indeed!
What Happens when Similar Plant Families are Potted Next to Each Other?
Lots of experiments were wrapped up ever since the discovery was made. It is a joyous experience to watch plant siblings grow together — the leaves interlace and touch. Instead of showcasing selfish behaviour, the plants stay clear from being greedy. The roots are well-nourished, and there’s definitely a balance in the nutrient intake scale as well. Unlike the happy plant families, when diverse variants of crops are potted together, some plants are malnourished. The leaves seldom touch and grow upright instead.
Now you know why your gardener loves to sift out plant species that breed well together. Buy plants online live a flattering and healthy life amid the greens.