Can plants communicate?
You asked us, can plants communicate? Well, not too long ago if you answered yes to that question most people would think you were crazy.
But growing evidence suggests that plants can actually communicate and in more ways than one. You see, plants don't have mouths, eyes or ears. However, they apparently see, feel, smell and possibly even hear signals from other plants. That sweet summer smell of freshly cut grass is actually a blast of chemical signals sent out by the injured grass, a warning to let other nearby plants know to go on the defensive.
Why would a plant want to give its competitors a heads up? What could the possible evolutionary benefit be? Well, some scientists think that plants aren't actually talking to each other but to themselves, while their nosy neighbors take advantage of the situation and eavesdrop.
At this point, there are more questions than answers, I admit. It's becoming clear though, that communication isn't limited to just animals like ourselves. Plants have a lot to say, too.
For more stories like this, check us out every day at smithsonian.com.
Critical thinking challenge: What has happened that changed some people's minds about whether plants can communicate?