You might not ever be able to hear them do the talking, but trust me, they are murmuring every now and then.
A recent study by Cornell University found that plants can communicate with each other to warn of potential threats and pests. The message, among the plants, is sent and received by airborne chemicals, referred to as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The chemical allows plants to exchange information in complete silence.
For a deep study on the subject, researchers studied Solidago altissima, which is a North American species of goldenrod. To observe the threat, researchers exposed the plant with a group of herbivore goldenrod leaf beetles.
The researchers discovered that when the plants were exposed to such threats, their smells which are carried by the aforementioned VOCs, become quite alike or similar. So with each plant smelling the same way (in their world) it’s quite a communication between them.
The study also explains how this change in smells works in their favour. At various instances, this change in smell also attracts various insects and animals that are known to eating herbivorous.
“What we very often see when plants get attacked by pathogens or herbivores is, they change their metabolism. But it’s not a random change – in fact, those chemical and metabolic changes are also helping them cope with those attackers,” head researcher Andre Kessler says.