Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Do Plants Have Sibling Rivalry?

February 3, 2016

Micro-Greens Kits | UncommonGoodsQuite the opposite, actually. Plants are extremely considerate of their siblings—other plants grown from the seeds of the same mother plant—and won’t compete with their brethren the way they would with non-related plants.

A study of more than 3,000 mustard seedlings found that chemical cues given off during root growth will alert the plant to their nearby family and will change the way the plants grow. Instead of rapidly growing their roots to take up as many nutrients as possible, plants that were growing near siblings developed a shallower root system and intertwined leaves so they’d all have an equal chance at survival. The jury’s still out on how plant siblings feel about each other during long car rides, when one is using the bathroom for too long, or after their parents tell them to share the last piece of cake.

 

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