Botany

Why do plants panic when it rains?

To avoid disastrous consequences, a group of scientists has shown that plants have an amazing system that keeps them protected.

As we know, plants cannot walk. That is why, after billions of years of evolution, they have had more than enough time to adapt to the environment. Some have spines that keep herbivorous animals from eating them, others secrete toxic substances that keep them safe, and others blend so well that it can be hard to see them. But the truth is that we still don’t know everything about them.

Related article:Plant defense mechanisms

To this day, very, very interesting discoveries continue to be made, which make us wonder to what extent they have evolved. The most recent has a lot to do with its defense system, which remains very active during the rain, or when its leaves are sprayed.

A chain reaction

It seems incredible that they should be on alert when it rains, which is when they receive the highest quality water they can get. But yes, yes. Fungi, bacteria and viruses, those that we cannot see with the naked eye but that do so much damage as soon as they enter through a wound or cut, can sneak into the water droplets when they make their journey towards the ground, pushed by the force of the gravity.

Related article:What are the fungi that affect plants?

Fortunately, the plants will be ready to receive them.

According to the study conducted by a team of scientists from the Faculty of Molecular Sciences at the University of Western Australia, the ARC Center of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and Lund University, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, when the drops begin to fall on the leaves, a chain reaction occurs within them caused by a protein, called Myc2.

When activated, thousands of genes work by priming plant defenses, which travel from leaf to leaf, thus inducing a variety of protective effects. But the thing does not end here.

Plants also protect each other

If the above seems surprising, this may be science fiction for many. But no. We are talking about scientific facts, that is to say, real ones. So if you’re wondering how plants can protect each other, it’s time to talk about jasmonic acid.

This is a hormone synthesized by plants that is used to send chemical signals called jasmonates in response to insect attack and as a protective measure. It is so light that neighboring plants can detect it without problems, thus activating their system as well.

And it is that the union is strength. If a group of neighboring plants have their defense mechanisms activated, it will be more difficult for diseases to spread. Therefore, it is important to spread the warning to nearby plants.

Rain is vital for the plant world to exist, but at the same time, it could become its main enemy. Curious, right?

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