What Plants Talk About
I was wondering if anyone besides myself has seen the program on PBS (the Nature series) by this name "What Plants Talk About?"
This show echoed what an earlier program on another channel had discussed of how plants appear to engage in thought and take actions despite the lack of a brain. In the earlier program, researchers investigated the mysterious death of a large number of deaths of giraffes. They traced this to tannin poisoning. The animals had been browsing on a type of thorny tree that formed part of their natural diet, whose leaves normally contained small, harmless amounts of tannin. However during a severe drought when no other vegetation was available, the trees apparently turned up the tannin supply to kill the giraffes and prevent being killed themselves by overgrazing. Plants/trees unable to move away to escape predation apparently can resort to other means of self-defense.
In the later program cited in this thread, all sorts of plant behaviors were examined. For instance plants of the same family, when planted in pots together, restricted their root growth so as to allow their relatives an equal measure of the available nutrients. Unrelated plants' roots after a time were intermeshed in attempts by each plant to seize as many nutrients as each could grab.
The researchers then mixed carbon based fertilizer with radioactive material and fed it to large trees in a forest. They returned a week later with a Geiger counter and discovered that the plant food had been distributed throughout the "mother trees" and distributed by them to their offspring, the largest proportion of the material going to the smallest and most vulnerable of their seedlings. It is remarkable to learn how the trees take care of their own, and revealing as to why transplanted seedlings do not do as well on their own in new surroundings. It makes me feel badly for the little "orphan" trees I have been planting in recent years as part of my reforestation effort.