Plant Defense

April 14, 2015

Listening in on Plant Defenses

Music and plants has long captured our imagination. Now we have evidence that plants really benefit from responding to vibrations.
In a widely-reported study released last year, two researchers over at the University of Missouri, Columbia tested the effects on plant defenses of the vibrations caused by a caterpillar chewing on a leaf. Although much of the reporting fell prey to the temptation to claim the plants “heard” the chewing and responded, the real answer is both more complicated and more interesting.