Scientists have discovered that plants can communicate with each other to warn against potential danger. The plants that have this function seem to be ground plants like strawberries, clover and reed, plants that have horizontal stems. They grow on, or in, the ground, and they can share information.

Growing on the ground gives these plants a type of ‘network’ to pass information along about upcoming damage to the leaves of the plant. Plants are typically eaten by bugs like caterpillars and when a plant senses it is being damaged it sends out a warning to other planets, the warning tells other plants to upgrade their chemical resistance making the leaves harder to chew-on and less desirable to eat.

The upgrade of chemical resistance wards off predators like caterpillars because bugs are well aware of the defense mechanism. Scientists call it of type of military defense because the warning can be sent along the network of horizontal stems to warn many plants that have this type of feature.

There is a downside for plants that have this type of networking defense which is viruses. Viruses enter the plant via the leaves but quickly find their way to the stem and with the horizontal network of stems; the virus can quickly spread from plant to plant.

Livescience.com