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Talking plants 'click' to communicate with each other

April 4, 2012 - Melbourne

Researchers have uncovered plants that respond to sound and 'click' to converse with each other.

"Everyone knows that plants react to light, and scientists also know that plants use volatile chemicals to communicate with each other: for instance, when danger - such as a herbivore - approaches," quoted University of Western Australia researcher Monica Gagliano as saying.

"I was working one day in my herb garden and started to wonder if maybe plants were also sensitive to sounds - why not? - so I decided as a scientist to find out."

Dr Gagliano, along with professor Daniel Robert at the University of Bristol in the UK and professor Stefano Mancuso at the University of Florence in Italy, found that the roots of young plants emitted and reacted to specific sounds.

They asserted that young roots of corn made regular clicking sounds.

They also discovered that when the roots were suspended in water, they leaned towards the source of a continuous sound emitted in the region of 220Hz, which was within the frequency range that the same roots emitted themselves.

Their research concluded that besides other forms of sensory response, "it is very likely that some form of sensitivity to sound and vibrations also plays an important role in the life of plants".

The study has been published in the international journal Trends in Plant Science.


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