|Tropical Garden, MRobb|
"Competition between individual plants for resources is well known, but sharing of resources may also occur. Klein et al. observed tree-to-tree carbon shuttling between roots of tall trees in a mixed temperate forest in Switzerland (see the Perspective by van der Heijden). By applying stable carbon isotope labeling to individual tree canopies, they show that up to 40% of the carbon in the fine roots of one individual may be derived from photosynthetic products of a neighbor. Carbon transfer of this kind, mediated by plant-associated fungi, or mycorrhizae, in the soil, has been reported on a smaller scale in seedlings, but not before in trees. "
Science, this issue p. 342; see also p. 290
|Alpine Stream, MRobb|
Many gardeners, particularly gardeners of rare plants, have noted that the plants do better in groups, and outdoors in open soil if conditions allow. We know some of those reasons. What I call the Fungi-Net, which is basically a communications system built with soil fungi, allows plants to share data. Also the Formi-Net, which allows plants to communicate via their ant symbionts, helps some plants like Tillies to reach out to their world. Now we've found that the Fungi-Net does much more than facilitate communication- it allows plants to share their resources.
|Railroad Vine, MRobb|
Ethically speaking, should we be growing our plants in groups, and ensuring fungi are growing well in their soil? What do you all think, gardeners? Any ethicist botanists wish to comment?