"Shut up and die," the orchid's
flower tells its petals once it is pollinated. But the language used is not
known to us - it is chemical talk
and in orchids, ethylene does the
talking. Now, botanists have found
a way of tapping into the chemical
talk of plants using lasers which are
so sensitive as to pick up even one
molecule of the substance targeted.
A lot of work has been done with
lasers tuned in to ethylene gas - a
plant hormone, which can be
released if the plant is overwatered
(BBC- Wildlife, Vol 13, No 5).
Lately, Bristol University botanists have been targeting a fragrant gas called methyl jasmonate that appears to warn neighbouring plants of potential insect attacks.
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