Talented Greenery

Check out this minute long 360° video from Genesis Visual Studios.

Peaceful, isn’t it?

The bees are busily buzzing about, but the plants aren’t doing much, right?

Well, those plants are up to a LOT more than they look like they are in the video.

Now, you’re probably thinking, yeah, right.

They can move towards light, VERY slowly. Big whoop-d-doo!

Not so fast. There may be more to those Ents in The Lord of the Rings and the Tree of Souls in Avatar than you might expect.

For example, did you know that plants really do “warn” each other of danger?

Here’s a recent video and a couple of related articles about the skill.

When plants cry out for help, their neighbors start screaming, too (Kat Eschner, Popular Science)
Insect Herbivory Selects for Volatile-Mediated Plant-Plant Communication (Aino Kalske, Et al., Current Biology)

This is just the latest development in a long line of research about the talents of plants.

For example, back in 2013 there was a PBS Nature special dedicated to “plant behavior” entitled What Plants Talk About. Here’s a quick trailer for it.

Since then, once or twice a year, the topic tends to pop up in the media.

Here’s a video published in 2016 by Richard Karban on TED-Ed that gives a very nice summary of some of the research that’s made the news.

You can find out more from Richard Karban’s accompanying TED-Ed Lesson and these sources upon which he says it was based.
How trees talk to each other (Suzanne Simard, TED Talk, YouTube)
Plant Sensing and Communication (Richard Karban, University of Chicago Press)
Do animals have language? (Michele Bishop, TED-Ed)
How Plants Secretly Talk to Each Other (Kat McGowan, Wired)
The Intelligent Plant: Scientists debate a new way of understanding flora (Michael Pollan, The New Yorker)

Here’s a recent video and article about the subterranean fungi network that’s now been dubbed the “wood wide web.”


Wood wide web: The underground network of microbes that connects trees—mapped for first time (Gabriel Popkin, Science Magazine)

So plants can talk, trade and wage war.

That’s very nice, but that doesn’t make them all that talented, right?

Well, believe it or not, with a bit of help from their friends, plants can “sing” too, and that shard of news is what actually inspired this very post!

This week I came across a device on Kickstarter from Data Garden that’s called PlantWave, and it’s designed to let you “listen to the music” of plants!

Here’s their two minute promotional video.

Here’s a story with more background.
Let Your Plants Play Music, and Gardens of Sound Will Bloom (Arielle Pardes, Wired)

Of course, now that you know that plants can even “sing,” then it’s only fair to mention that, with a tad more help from their human friends, they can also dance!

Here’s a video of some doing a ballet to Chopin’s Mazurkas, Op. 67.

If you like that, then you will probably enjoy this extremely relaxing seven minute long video of flowers dancing to, appropriately enough, Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers.

So there you have it — the next time you’re surrounded by plants, even if you can’t actually hear them talk and sing or watch them move or dance right then and there, perhaps it may not seem “quite” so quiet 🙂

Here are some further resources about the many “talents” of plants.
Do Trees Talk to Each Other? (Richard Grant, Smithsonian Magazine)
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate (Peter Wohlleben)
How trees talk to each other (Suzanne Simard, TED Talk, YouTube)

Have a great weekend!

Find out more about plants, trees and flowers