Trees Communicate with Aspirin
Trees talk to each other in a chemical language (02/21/2006), but till now, no one realized they sound an alarm with aspirin. Trees emit a vaporous form of aspirin when under stress, reported Science Daily, that talks on the ecological network. This was an unexpected finding.
Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research theorized that the methyl salicylate vapor, one of hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emitted by plants, is a distress signal. It may put the plant or tree into a kind of high-alert mode, stimulating immune responses, and it may also signal neighboring plants to be on guard against a climactic or invasive threat.
Scientists knew that methyl salicylate was produced by plants, but did not realize till now that plants emit significant quantities of it into the atmosphere, and use it for signaling. The team detected the aspirin when studying VOCs in a California walnut grove. “These findings show tangible proof that plant-to-plant communication occurs on the ecosystem level,” a co-author of the study said. “It appears that plants have the ability to communicate through the atmosphere.”
If farmers can learn to read the chemical signals in vapors emitted by plants, they may gain a new way to quickly gauge the health of their crops before damage becomes visible.
The article did not mention evolution. Here is another amazing fact, right under biologists’ noses, that was unknown till now. If an observable, measurable phenomenon in the present can escape detection for so long, how can biologists speak so glibly about factors in mythical worlds millions of years ago? How could a communication network among brainless plants evolve? This was discovered by good old-fashioned field work. Taxpayers donated funds for the research. Darwin donated nothing.