Breakthrough in 'talking' to plants could enable us to pass on the weather forecast – Scotsman comment

Human-plant communication has been rather a niche area for many years, but that could all be about to change

Many people will have idly wished that they could talk to animals just like the fictional Dr Dolittle. And there are plenty of pet owners who are convinced that their prized pooch or kitty understands them well. However, those who admit to talking to plants – like the future King Charles, who once said: “I happily talk to plants and trees and listen to them” – tend to be few and far between.

But now Cambridge University scientists have apparently worked out a way to communicate with them. They found it was possible to activate the tobacco plant’s immune system by using light and now hope to expand the range of messages. Dr Alexander Jones said: “If we could warn plants of an impending disease outbreak or pest attack, plants could then activate their natural defence mechanisms to prevent widespread damage. We could also inform plants about approaching extreme weather events.”

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Is this the start of a whole new relationship between humanity and flora? Will sympathetic gardeners eventually feel the need to warn the grass before they mow the lawn? We eagerly await further developments.

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