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The whispering world of plants: ‘The Wood Wide Web’

Posted on 28. November, 2017.

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The notion that plants can ‘talk’ to one another was, until relatively recently, dismissed as fantasy, but the reality of inter-plant communication is now becoming an accepted part of mainstream science. 

Although plants, by definition, being ‘planted’ in the ground, cannot move per se, they are able to send signals to one another, by means of volatile organic compounds and it is thought that not only can a plant communicate with other plants, it may also engage in a ‘soliloquy’ by communicating between different parts of itself. 
Although this fact alone is fascinating, it appears that plants may both send out chemical messengers as airborne species that other plants can receive above ground, and send messages to one another via a network of connections within the soil, termed ‘common mycorrhizal (mycelial) networks’ (CMN), formed by connections between the mycorrhiza of different plants. This has been described as a kind of below ground ‘internet’ which has been termed appropriately as ‘The Wood Wide Web’.

Read the full article, free, in Science Progress (2017), 100(3), 331–337

Author: Christopher J. Rhodes

Keywords: mycorrhizal mycelium, mycorrhiza, common mycorrizhal networks, CMN, mycelial networks, fungal network, plant communication, soil, Wood Wide Web, mutualism, arbuscular, AMF, AF, ectomycorrhizal, EcM