Looking after your own…

Recent studies undertaken by respected plant whisperers have shown the importance of family ties in the green world.

Two cuttings taken from one planet were re-housed in a pot full of soil which was watered regularly and filled with nutrients required for growth. Two other cuttings were taken from separate plants (of the same species) and placed in another pot prepared in a similar vein. Measurements were taken to determine how equally the available resources were procured by the various cuttings. The results were intriguing, but probably unsurprising to the many green thumbed growers who swear blind that their prized plants are more alive than the philistines would have us believe…

While the cuttings taken from separate plants fought leave and stem for control and acquisition of the available resources- invariably resulting in one cutting growing faster and more vigorously than it’s neighbour- the cuttings taken from the same plant shared the nutrients and water evenly, allowing them both to grow at a steady, similar rate.

It appears that like most beasts of a more mammalian slant the floral families look after their own. How exactly the plants are able to distinguish between family members is a mystery.

If recognition of family members is passed down the line, I wonder what other information could be imprinted in the DNA of sons and daughters of nettles, oak trees, venus fly traps and the rest of their ilk. Just imagine what the modern day descendents of floral ancestors could tell us, if we could speak to them, about ancient times…

(Other investigations into plant communication have shown that networks of certain floral species develop inter connecting ‘feeler’ shoots which are used as an early warning system. When one of the plants in the network is attacked, perhaps by a gang of famished, merciless caterpillars, a message is relayed to the other plants via the ‘feelers’ prompting the mass production of chemicals which make the plants less desirable, poisonous even, to the attackers. The major drawback of this system is that these connections can expedite the spread of disease throughout a network, proving that safety in numbers can be a false dawn…

I remember reading a while back about certain Trees which when attacked release spores, into the air, that other trees in the area can recognize and react to by stimulating production of toxins in their leaves which deter the Enemy…That method seems safer than the ‘feeler’ shoots in a network…Scientists are as yet unable to determine whether the release of spores is voluntary measure designed to warn the rest of the herd so to speak, or if it is merely the natural defence system of the tree under attack trying to thwart the attack. Whatever the answer, it is clear that the spores released into the air do act as a warning for other trees in the vicinity…

As with many species, solidarity may offer certain securities but it is the self reliant way of the lone wolf who blazes his own trail which offers the greatest potential for adventure and enlightenment. Indeed….


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