In the animated video “The Secret Social Life of Plants“, Minute Earth explores and explains the manner in which plants communicate with one another and how they go about protecting and/or destroying each other.
Teamwork. Plants gossip below ground as well. If you seal the tops of tomato plants in airtight plastic bags and expose one of them to harmful leaf disease, the healthy plants will detect their neighbors illness and begin making antibiotic compounds. We don’t know exactly how this communication happens, but it’s probably through the extensive network of beneficial fungi that help plant roots absorb and share water and nutrients. However plants can also use what they learn about their neighbors for nefarious purposes. Parasitic daughter vines sniff out and steer towards their preferred hosts instead of flailing around blindly. Another vine somehow grows leaves in different shapes and sizes to match those of the tree or shrub it’s climbing on, using its host for both support and camouflage whatever the purpose.