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What Do Plants Talk About?

MARIPOSA – Unable to produce its own food, the dodder vine must live entirely off a host plant. It finds its “prey” by “sniffing” out the chemical scents released by the leaves of nearby plants, and can sneak up on its favorites, even if there’s a less-desirable plant closer.

Plants aren’t sitting in the soil merely “being.” Research shows that they are “doing,” and much more than you might imagine.

They can send out alarms, actively look for the best place to grow, take care of their “babies.”

All this is shown in a PBS “Nature” episode called What Plants Talk About.

Here’s what PBS says about the film: “When we think about plants, we don’t often associate a term like ‘behavior’ with them, but experimental plant ecologist JC Cahill wants to change that. The University of Alberta professor maintains that plants do behave and lead anything but solitary and sedentary lives.”

“They’re actively engaging with the environment in which they live,” Cahill insists. “They actively communicate. They actively respond to the nutrients, and the predators, and the herbivores that are around them. It’s a really dynamic system.

“By exploring the fascinating behaviors of plant life, including the dodder vine, wild tobacco plant, and Douglas fir, What Plants Talk About teaches us all that plants are smarter and much more interactive than we thought.”

Mariposa County Master Gardeners present this film and a post-film discussion for free on Saturday, Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon at the county Board of Supervisors chambers, 5100 Bullion Street in Mariposa. Please register by calling (209) 966-2417 or online at cemariposa.ucanr.edu/Master_Gardener.

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