Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Can plants 'communicate' ?

  1. Sep 4, 2012 #1
    I came across this in a magazine and I'm skeptical about it. Does anyone have any evidence to support this or a link to the "studies' it references?

    Per attachment: "We know that plants utilize biochemical signaling molecules to communicate, especially when a predator is nearby. But biologists have now discovered plants also communicate acoustically. Researchers observed uniform repetitive clicking sounds of about 220 MHz amount cereal plants. Clearly these plants can 'hear' these sounds because the noise influences the growth of their roots. But what these plants 'talk' about is still a mystery."
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2012 #2

    phinds

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    what magazine?
     
  4. Sep 4, 2012 #3
    How do they know that the sound influences the growth of their roots?
    It "sounds" to me that they may have gotten it backwards. I can believe that the growth process in plants can generate sounds. Maybe when the roots grow, friction with the soil creates a low pitched sound. This sound would be analogous to the Aeolian tone when wind blows against the ground. Then the faster the growth, the louder the sound.
    In this hypothesis, the growth of roots causes the sound. However, the sound does not influence the growth of roots.
    If it is true the sound influences the growth of roots, then I don't see how. The plants don't have any known sensors that are specialized for listening to sound.
    Chemical communication between plants seems a lot more plausible. The growth of plants is regulated by the diffusion of auxin. It appears to me even likely that plants would evolve to release auxin or auxin-like chemicals as a type of communication.
    The hypothesis that plants communicate by sound may be wishful thinking on the part of people who talk to plants. It appears more likely a plant would respond to a persons body odor, or to their deodorants, than to sound. Plants have known sensitivities to chemicals. Yet, I have never heard of anyone putting on a certain perfume or deodorant for gardening.
     
  5. Sep 4, 2012 #4

    Q_Goest

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

  6. Sep 4, 2012 #5
    The magazine is called "Idea's & Discoveries" .. I've never seen it before.

    Thanks for the link, but unfortunately, I don't have a membership there.. :-/
     
  7. Sep 4, 2012 #6

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Well it seems your initial skepticism was on target. That magazine isn't on the list of acceptable journals we use here.

    Here's the full list:

    http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/cgi-bin/jrnlst/jlresults.cgi?PC=MASTER
     
  8. Sep 5, 2012 #7
    Thanks for the info!

    (side note)
    I was going to post this in the skepticism / debunking sub-forum, but that seems to be gone. What happened to it?
     
  9. Sep 5, 2012 #8

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook