Plants Can Recognize, Communicate with relatives

June 21, 2007

clipped from

Plants have family values, too, it seems, with new research suggesting they can recognize close relatives in order to work together.

Sea rocket picture

An ability to tell family from strangers is well known in animals, allowing them to cooperate and share resources, but plants may possess similar social skills, scientists believe.

plants, though lacking cognition and memory, are capable of complex social

The study found plants from the same species of beach-dwelling wildflower
grew aggressively alongside unrelated neighbors but were less competitive when
they shared soil with their siblings.

Sea rocket, a North American species, showed more vigorous root growth when
planted in pots with strangers than when raised with relatives from the same
maternal family, the study found.

Kin selection also applies to competition, the scientists added, because if family members compete less with each other, the group will do better overall.

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