Wild Things: Life as We Know It- page 5 | Science | Smithsonian
Current Issue
September 2014  magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

(Jessie Cohen / NZP, SI)

Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Octopuses, Dinosaurs, Pandas and More...

Observed

Impatiens pallida
(Bill Beatty / Animals Animals - Earth Scenes)
Name: Impatiens pallida, a forest plant found in eastern North America.
In The Dark: Like some other plants, I. pallida can tell with its roots whether a neighboring plant is its sibling.
In The Light: With unrelated neighbors, I. pallida grows short, leafy stalks. With sibling neighbors, it grows taller stalks with fewer leaves, thus sharing the sunlight, says a study from McMaster University in Ontario.
Under Scrutiny: Other plant species have been shown to take up fewer nutrients through their roots when siblings are growing nearby, but this is the first time a plant has been shown to conspire with kin above ground.

Learn more about Impatiens pallida at the Encyclopedia of Life.

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus