Thursday, April 04, 2013
The marshes in South Carolina were alive with color and pungent smells when I was there. I could almost feel the pulse of renewed life as it moved across the water and grasses. Then this past week I watched a program about plants, their blossoms, their root systems and their defense mechanisms that seemed to tie into what I was feeling.
Most people know that many plants can put out toxins to prevent complete eating of all of their leaves by a predator. But did you know that they send out a gas that attracts the predators of the predator? Did you know that they may evolve to form two types of blossoms to attract non-predator pollinators at different times of the day? And even more amazing they can have two types of root systems. One that is more conservative when they are growing next to young plants of their own progeny and one that is more aggressive when growing next to competitive plants of another species. Some plants can also send out a toxin through the root system that kills the competitive roots of other plants. Plants do not have a brain or nervous system...so how do they have this sentience...awareness of who they are and who other plants are?
One experiment where a radioactive carbon gas was injected into a sealed plastic bag that had been placed around the lowest branch of a tree proved days later that the radioactive nutrition that was absorbed by those leaves actually was distributed several feet away to other small trees of the same type. There is a whole network of communication and nurture going on underground in the woods.
All I know is the next time I hug a tree, I will not feel so stupid.