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A Plant That Can Smell

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the nose-knows-best dept.

119

BlueCup writes "The question of how a dodder finds a host plant has puzzled researchers. Many thought it simply grew in a random direction, with discovery of a plant to attack being a chance encounter. But the researchers led by Consuelo M. De Moraes found that if they placed tomato plants near a germinating dodder, the parasite headed for the tomato 80 percent of the time. And when they put scent chemicals from a tomato on rubber, 73 percent of the dodder seedlings headed that way. Turns out, it sniffs out it's prey."

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"it sniffs out it's prey." (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16240751)

C'mon, even TFA has "its" spelled correctly in the first sentence. You can do better, Slashdot editors and/or article submitter!

Lemme rephrase that.

You can do better, article submitter!

I agree (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241867)

There must be something wrong with these people. It doesn't seem to matter how often they see "its" and "it's" used correctly, they don't learn. I would find it difficult to be so dense; but then again, I'm not stupid.

Is this really smelling? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242203)

I'd have thought that smelling means that the plant has sophisticated analytical abilities. Surely calling this "smelling" is like saying that plants that follow the sun are "seeing".

Re:Is this really smelling? (3, Informative)

max8061 (693586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242775)

Actually, IIRC, plants don't actually follow strong light. Light inhibits growth strangely enough. So plants don't follow the sun, it's just that the lighted side of the plant grows at a slower rate than the darker side, thus causing the plant to curve toward the light. At least, that's how I've always understood it.

Re:Is this really smelling? (3, Informative)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16243247)

While I might agree that plant's "grow" at a slower rate in more intense sunlight, I don't believe it's proper to say that sunlight inhibits growth. What happens is that when a plant is in sufficient sunlight, it can devote its nutrients to growing heartier rather than "bigger." Plants in sufficient sunlight tend to be short, but also have thicker stalks and fuller (though fewer) leaves. Plants in low light grow taller and lankier, because they are a) trying to maximize their surface area to most efficiently absorb as much sunlight as possible, both through sheer size and by producing more leaves, and b) potentially grow taller than whatever is obstructing their ability to get to the light (think of a bunch of plants all in close proximity on the ground. The taller the plant, the less likely it is to be oovered up by another plant. So if a plant is not getting enough sunlight, it's possibly because all the other plants around it are taller than it. Therefore the best response is to get even taller still).

I don't have any studies, but I believe I've seen plants that shifted significantly after a change in the direction of the source of light (such as if you turn the plant 180 degrees after being in front of a window), a shift that occurred much too quickly to be explained away by the speed at which different sides of the plant grew.

FIRST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16240753)

FIRSTPOST

re:FIRST (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16240793)

YOUFAILIT!

attack of the killer... (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240755)

But the researchers led by Consuelo M. De Moraes found that if they placed tomato plants near a germinating dodder, the parasite headed for the tomato 80 percent of the time. And when they put scent chemicals from a tomato on rubber, 73 percent of the dodder seedlings headed that way. Turns out, it sniffs out it's prey.

See, now I would have thought that it would have been the tomatoes that made the first strike...

Re:attack of the killer... (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241043)

See, now I would have thought that it would have been the tomatoes that made the first strike...

In sovi.......never mind.
     

Re:attack of the killer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241331)

Yeah, in the original, the tomato shot first!

Where's Lucas?

Hmm... sounds dubious.... (1, Funny)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240765)

its more likely the plants are using the force... i'm not kidding man!!! Have you seen the size of the midichlorians on tomatoes??? I'd want to get close to them too!

mod (1)

iamstretchypanda (939837) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240951)

lol mod up

While My Guitar Gently Weeps (-1, Offtopic)

The Lyrics Guy (539223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240783)

(note - I'm convinced that when this song is done right, it's quite possibly one of the top songs ever written/sung)

George Harrison - While My Guitar Gently Weeps

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don't know why nobody told you
How to unfold your love
I don't know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you

I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don't know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don't know how you were inverted
No one alerted you

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
Look at you all...
Still my guitar gently weeps

Re:While My Guitar Gently Weeps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16240871)

A bass guitar in spider webs / Longing for the funk
Uzi gun takes its place / in a wagon trunk

Re:While My Guitar Gently Weeps (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241027)

Um, wouldn't this be "while my guitar gently creeps"?

Another name (4, Informative)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240791)

A dodder is also known as a Cuscuta [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Another name (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240933)

Well Mark, you of all people should know that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Re:Another name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16240987)

Not if they were called stench blossoms.

Re:Another name (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241801)

You so missed the irony, dude.

Re:Another name (1)

albyrne5 (893494) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242703)

And you missed the (admittedly misquoted) Simpsons reference. Shame on you.

Re:Another name (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16244349)

What if they called it Elf Grass?

Re:Another name (1)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241309)

Thats not a dodder... Thats a triffid! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Another name (3, Funny)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241449)

That which we call a dodder by any other word would smell tomatoes.

Re:Another name (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241785)

That which we call a dodder by any other word would smell tomatoes.

Such a rosy world we live in, no? :-)

Re:Another name (0, Redundant)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241465)

A dodder by any other name would smell tomatoes.

Well, duh. (2, Informative)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240795)

Somehow I think that plant pathologists have probably noticed this for decades. It a pretty useful lab plant for moving pathogens between plants in interesting ways. Dodder is grown in plant path greenhouses commonly and usually near host plants.

Science 101. (0, Redundant)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242507)

Ummm, yeah, for decades they have noticed and made use of the host finding behaviour of the dodder.

1. And assumed the dodders behaviour was explained by "random twisting".

2. This experiment found that "random twisting" can not explain the dodders behaviour.

3. Iff the experiment can be repeated, the assumption is broken. Science will look for a stronger explaination as to how the dodder finds a host.

4. RTFA before "arse spraying" it with that boiling alkaline excretion of yours.

5. ????

6. Profit!

Plants that remember people (3, Interesting)

Yo Grark (465041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240831)

I can't find anything on google about it, but there was a tale of an experiment where a man went into a greenhouse and hacked up all the plants.

A bunch of scientific equipment was setup to measure plants behaviour/electrical impulses.

They then had 10 people walk through the room and when the man who hacked the plants entered the room the plants sent off strong/furious signals.

I always wondered if this was a true experiment or urban legend...but with this species of plants sensing different kinds of chemicals, it just might have been real.

Yo Grark

Re:Plants that remember people (3, Informative)

lexarius (560925) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240893)

The way I heard it was: Two plants of the same species were placed in a room with the sensors attached. A man walked in and brutally hacked one of the plants apart and then left. After that, the surviving plant gave off the 'fear' signal whenever people walked in the room. Or something like that.

Re:Plants that remember people (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240911)

How can you tell if a plant's feeling fear? Does it start quivering (or is that just the wind of people coming in)?

Re:Plants that remember people (1)

lexarius (560925) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241013)

According to the story it was some sort of electrical or perhaps pheremonal signal. I don't recall. They don't really have nervous systems, but they have some decentralized method of passing information around and interacting with their environment. Very slowly, in most cases.

Re:Plants that remember people (4, Funny)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241217)

Very slowly, in most cases.


Well, of course it's slowly, it takes a very long time to say anything in Old Entish [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Plants that remember people (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241083)

The way I heard it was: Two plants of the same species were placed in a room with the sensors...

Well, I heard it like this: A plant, a Nun, and a Rabbi walked into a bar....
     

Re:Plants that remember people (2, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241285)

Mythbusters did this one recently. It was completely busted- the lie detector "signals" were caused by vibrations in the plant from human motion.

Re:Plants that remember people (1)

nebbian (564148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16244155)

Read The Secret life of Plants [amazon.com] . It will open your eyes.

There are numerous experiments described where the scientists hook up polygraphs to plants, get one person to just think about smashing the plant, burning leaves, that sort of thing, and the plant would go psycho. Other people who loved plants would be put into the same room and the plant would exhibit totally different behaviours.

One guy actually controlled his garage door by hooking up a philodendron to an amplifier, and he could open the door just by thinking "Love" at his plant.

Fantastic stuff!

Re:Plants that remember people (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240915)

They then had 10 people walk through the room and when the man who hacked the plants entered the room the plants sent off strong/furious signals.

What sort of signals does a plant send? Doesn't seem much point if it can't do anything about it.

Re:Plants that remember people (2, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241061)

Plants send all kinds of signals. The problem is that this urban legend has to interpret those signals without much of any interaction from the plant. When I first heard of it, it was being used by people trying to counter vegetarian's arguments about how animals feels when they are butchered(sometime in the 70's).

The story goes that scientist conected an EKG machine and watched for signs of brian patterns. When the plant apeared excited they interpreted it as emotion. I didn't think it was actualy true but i found a few posts about it.

http://skepdic.com/plants.html [skepdic.com]
http://forums.teamphoenixrising.net/showthread.php ?t=23171 [teamphoenixrising.net]

Take them with a grain of salt.

Re:Plants that remember people (3, Interesting)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241453)

The story goes that scientist conected an EKG machine and watched for signs of brian patterns. When the plant apeared excited they interpreted it as emotion. I didn't think it was actualy true but i found a few posts about it.

Mythbusters actually took a shot at this one [discovery.com] (episode 61). They tried hooking up both a polygraph (as the original guy did) as well as an EKG machine. What they found is that there initially appeared to be a response, but once they isolated themselves from the plant they were testing, the apparent response went away. Kinda dumb, but somewhat interesting.

If you're interested, you can get it here [torrentspy.com] or wait for it to be on Discovery again.

Re:Plants that remember people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16240931)

You are thinking of the movie: Little house of horrors. It had a plant that could do many things.

Great (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240939)

First you have the so called animal rights nutjobs that want everyone to stop eating meat, next we're going to have plant right whacks that want to ban us from eating plants.
What the hell is left to eat? If it isn't organic, the granola crowd isn't going to bite, and if it's manufactured (genetically engineered), we'll have activists spouting the dangers of modified DNA.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241317)

Have YOU ever seen a head of lettuce roll away from a farmer? At least cows have the ability to attempt an escape, or get the satisfaction of kicking a farmer.

Re:Great (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16244727)

You've never spent time around cows. Cows are really stupid. I once watched a guy shoot a cow in the head right in front of all of the other cows. They didn't try to "escape" or "kick" or anything. They just continued to stand there, like cows.

Re:Great (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241373)

The answer is simple: Soylent Green.

Re:Great (2, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241539)

What the hell is left to eat?


Eating is so passe. Cut out the middle man, learn to photosynthesize!

A meaty question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241799)

Technology Quarterly [economist.com]

A meaty question
Sep 21st 2006
From The Economist print edition

Biotechnology: Meat grown in vats, rather than in the form of animals, could soon be on the menu. It might even be healthier and better for you

IMAGE [economist.com]

IF YOU have ever longed for a meat substitute that smelt and tasted like the real thing, but did not involve killing an animal, then your order could be ready soon. Researchers believe it will soon be possible to grow cultured meat in quantities large enough to offer the meat industry an alternative source of supply.

Growing muscle cells (the main component of meat) in a nutrient broth is easy. The difficulty is persuading those cells to form something that resembles real meat. Paul Kosnik, the head of engineering at a firm called Tissue Genesis, is hoping to do it by stretching the cells with mechanical anchors. This encourages them to form small bundles surrounded by connective tissue, an arrangement similar to real muscle.

Robert Dennis, a biomedical engineer at the University of North Carolina, believes the secret of growing healthy muscle tissue in a laboratory is to understand how it interacts with its surroundings. In nature, tissues exist as elements in a larger system and they depend on other tissues for their survival. Without appropriate stimuli from their neighbours they degenerate. Dr Dennis and his team have been working on these neighbourly interactions for the past three years and report some success in engineering two of the most important—those between muscles and tendons, and muscles and nerves.

At the Touro College School of Health Sciences in New York, Morris Benjaminson and his team are working on removing living tissue from fish, and then growing it in culture. This approach has the advantage that the tissue has a functioning system of blood vessels to deliver nutrients, so it should be possible to grow tissue cultures more than a millimetre thick—the current limit.

Henk Haagsman, a meat scientist at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, is trying to make minced pork from cultured stem cells with the backing of Stegeman, a sausage company. It could be used in sausages, burgers and sauces.

But why would anyone want to eat cultured meat, rather than something freshly slaughtered and just off the bone? One answer, to mix metaphors, is that it would allow vegetarians to have their meatloaf and eat it too. But the sausage-meat project suggests another reason: hygiene. As Ingrid Newkirk of PETA, an animal-rights group, puts it, “no one who considers what’s in a meat hot dog could genuinely express any revulsion at eating a clean cloned meat product.”

Cultured meat could be grown in sterile conditions, avoiding Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and other nasties. It could also be made healthier by adjusting its composition—introducing heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids, for example. You could even take a cell from an endangered animal and, without threatening its extinction, make meat from it. Giant-panda steak, anyone?
 
::: yfnET

Re:Great (1)

a_fuzzyduck (979684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16243709)

We will all survive on E-numbers and other chemical rubbish that gets put into food. Dunno why they don't just give that to the herbivores and let the omnivorous folks have the real grub...

Re:Plants that remember people (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241443)

A bunch of scientific equipment was setup to measure plants behaviour/electrical impulses.

Setting up a bunch of scientific equipment is not what makes an experiment scientific.

KFG

ObJoke (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240845)

My dodder has no nose.
How does it smell?
Terrible!

Well, this plant can reallly smell!.. (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240877)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafflesia [wikipedia.org]

That is how I interpreted the title. :)

Re:Well, this plant can reallly smell!.. (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16243449)

I know what you mean about the interpretation- The plants growing in my basement can be smelt across the street....

Smelling Plants (3, Interesting)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240881)

Nothing new here, as apparently, this one [wikipedia.org] smells quite a lot.

In Soviet Russia... (1, Redundant)

JeepFanatic (993244) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240883)

...you don't smell the plants, the plants smell you.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241197)

...you don't smell the plants, the plants smell you.

Congratulations! You've screwed up the In Soviet Russia joke! You are hereby banned from /. until you can manage a full-blown Yakov Smirnov impression, to be sent to Google Video. (Youtube is not geeky enough for a full repreive.)

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241239)

You'd think Google would have a translator for this. All they'd have to do is flip the subject and object and leave out everything except the noun and the verb.

"In Soviet Russia, flowers smell you!"

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

patman600 (669121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241383)

Wouldn't the more appropriate comment be: "In Soviet Russia, the roses stop and smell you!"

Attack of the Killer Plants? (2, Interesting)

resistant (221968) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240899)

If the genetic engineering wizards could find out how to transplant this characteristic to, say, aquatic plants, perhaps they could modify them to attack the destructive zebra mussels [gma.org] that are such a major problem in the Great Lakes, or to control problem plants such as hydrilla verticillata [wapms.org] .

It's an fun thought, even if I lack the background to evaluate its feasibility.

Re:Attack of the Killer Plants? (2, Funny)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241557)

I can just see that getting out of control. You'll find yourself struggling to stay awake one night. Every time you blink and open your eyes again, it seems like your potted fern is a little closer to you. You'll be fine. Just go back to sleep...

when I first saw it (4, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240901)

I was hiking with my parents in the Shining Rock Wildnerness [recreation.gov] , an area in western North Carolina. Part of the wilderness was burned out sometime in the 1920's and the burn formed a long lasting grassland along several peaks. We hiked it sometime in the early 90's and it was the first time I saw dodder. It was this strange mat of oranged colored leafless vines, much like this [pompestoncreek.org] growing on a particularly plant (very similar to what is in the photograph, I believe). The strange thing is that we had hiked this trail over many years and had never seen this before. So we wondered at first if it were some new invasive species from elsewhere. Turns out that this was native to the area, but for whatever reason it never had grown this prolifically before. Definitely one of the strangest plants I've ever run across.

Is that a whiff of ... creeping apostrophitis? (0, Offtopic)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16240937)

Turns out, it sniffs out it's prey
Yes, but can it sniff out the difference between "it's" (it is) and "its" (the thing that belongs to it)? Come on, now, it's just one stinking paragraph to edit!

That being said, I've often observed, in the jungle-like Maryland suburbs, the seemingly impossible reach and accuracy of certain smothering, viney plants. The twisty, strangling, inescapable spread of warm, fuzzy-looking faux-friendliness - it's amazing. And that's just the PTA members! You should see the Kudzu!

FSM lives! (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241005)

The Flying Speghetti Monster [wikipedia.org] is seeking out holy tomato sauce! I believe I belieeeeeve!
       

Already have it. (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241015)

I can smell something after I eat asparagus.

Asparagus is a plant.

Therefore plants smell!

Not really (2, Insightful)

DrKyle (818035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241021)

Smell is not just chemoattraction. Plants also grow in the direction of sunlight, does that mean they can see? They grow away from gravity, does that mean they can feel?

rubber (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241053)

And when they put scent chemicals from a tomato on rubber, 73 percent of the dodder seedlings headed that way.

Maybe the dodder seedlings just needed a rubber before approaching the tomato plants?

Acacia (3, Interesting)

Xybot (707278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241085)

The Acacia tree is sensitive to chemicals given off by other Acacia trees when they are damaged. It responds by increasing it's Tannin production in order to help ward off possible predators. I'm not sure of what the scientific definition of smell is, but I'd probably define it as "the ability to sense the existance of airborne chemicals".

Re:Acacia (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16243847)

My guess would be that the definition of smell is simply chemical detection ( as opposed to light detection, vibration detection, heat detection, etc. ). IIRC in plant biology class, groves of trees often communicate through their underground rood network , which is often more intimate than their top-side relationships.

This FP f5or GNAA? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241113)

, a proud 8embe`r NetBSD posts on

And that surprises anyone? (4, Interesting)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241127)


    Even *single-cell* flagellates have what can be considered a rusimentary sense of smell, and the capability of changing their locomotion in order to lead them to food. That sort of ability is present all the way up through the multicellular ladder, and "smell" (or response to airborne chemical signals) have been well-known for quite some time in plants.

    Frankly, I'm susprised that they didn't start out with an assumption that smell was involved.

steve

Is that surprising? (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241139)

Smell isn't anything more than detecting fairly dilute chemicals
in the air. The fact that some species of plant have evolved to
perform very specific kinds of chemical detection to ensure their
survival doesn't seem surprising to me. Plants grow towards the
light - why not towards other things that are essential for their
survival.

Re:Is that surprising? (2, Interesting)

Xerxes314 (585536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241671)

Well, I would imagine it has to be a bit more sophisticated than phototropism. I mean, it's easy to detect light, and the side of something that isn't in the light is in shadow. So there's a clear, strong directional signal.

With smell, on the other hand, you have to detect very minute gradients in a trace amount of chemical that's being dispersed in the air. When the front half of your plant is facing a tomato, it's really only seeing a tiny amount more tomato-smell than the back half due to the dispersion of the tomato-smell. Animals can resolve this problem just by moving their noses back and forth; you sample a bunch of locations and then move toward the smellier area. But a plant cannot so easily move about, so how they can detect the gradient is the real mystery.

Re:Is that surprising? (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241755)

Actually, no, I don't think one would have to detect minute gradients.

Basically, you need a threshold value and it needs to be stronger across
50% of your field of sensivity. If you grow 1cm per day, you grow in the
direction in which the signal is strongest for one day. The next, you grow
in the direction again. And again, again, again, etc, etc. It only takes
being approximately right every day, and since your prey is stationary,
you get to it eventually.

Re:Is that surprising? (1)

njh (24312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241803)

I agree, we've known about plant pheremones for years. 'The private life of plants' talked about this 'plant sense of smell' and communication system and had nifty CG to explain. Maybe someone more planty than me can explain what the new result is?

Sample size? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241141)

They don't mention what their sample size is, i.e., is it 100 plants?

I can toss a coin 4 times, and let's say I get tails 3 times. Simultaneously, if I was tossing another coin nearby, and happen to get 3 tails out of 4 again on it too, can I conclude that the second coin supernaturally knew what the result on the other one was? BTW, the probability that the above happens is 1/16. Also, I can repeat this experiment many times to get this case.

Obviously, those researchers are smart enough. My question is: how can they write such a big article without mentioning about the sample size?

Re:Sample size? (1)

WiFiBro (784621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242721)

It's a Daily News article, what do you expect, chi squares?

Thats one complex plant.. (1)

HatchedEggs (1002127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241161)

That is a strange and complex plant. There are really some fascinating plants out there though... though I have to admit that is in the top ten that I know of.

Now if only we can genetically modify them to attack other Dodder plants.

Re:Thats one complex plant.. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241295)


Now if only we can genetically modify them to attack other Dodder plants.


      In related news, the 2010 Darwin Awards have been announced. . ..

Re:Thats one complex plant.. (1)

albyrne5 (893494) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242739)

Ha ha, no mod points, sorry, but I like it!

Hmmm.... (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241177)

It would seem that 7% of them had a stuffed nose at the time of the 2nd test...

Re:Hmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241431)

I don't see what cricket has to do with this.

Uhhh... (1)

curecollector (957211) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241223)

Plenty of plants smell, especially those of the flowering variety. Amazing what you find when you go outside every once in a while.

I kid, I kid...

Dodder (2, Interesting)

Punctuated_Equilibri (738253) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241235)

I got dodder in my garden from a basil plant I bought at a local nursery. That is one vicious weed. It's a parasitic rootless vine, hard to imagine if you've never seen it.

Grammar rock! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241251)

"its pray", not "it's pray" or "it is pray".

Re:Grammar rock! (2, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241457)

Right "its", wrong "prey."

moD up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16241419)

ooficial GNAA ir3 May also want

obligatory monty python (1)

ImTheDarkcyde (759406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241561)

I have a dog with no nose!

-How does it smell?

Terrible!

Choice of quotes / author. (5, Informative)

solanum (80810) | more than 7 years ago | (#16241735)

Hmmm, nice that the article doesn't mention the actual author of the paper (published in Science). Also not surprisingly, the actual paper doesn't talk about 'smell'. Oh and for the person going on about sample size, of course the paper gives sample sizes.

Here's the abstract:

Volatile Chemical Cues Guide Host Location and Host Selection by Parasitic Plants
Justin B. Runyon, Mark C. Mescher, Consuelo M. De Moraes*

The importance of plant volatiles in mediating interactions between plant species is much debated. Here, we demonstrate that the parasitic plant Cuscuta pentagona (dodder) uses volatile cues for host location. Cuscuta pentagona seedlings exhibit directed growth toward nearby tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum) and toward extracted tomato-plant volatiles presented in the absence of other cues. Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) and wheat plants (Triticum aestivum) also elicit directed growth. Moreover, seedlings can distinguish tomato and wheat volatiles and preferentially grow toward the former. Several individual compounds from tomato and wheat elicit directed growth by C. pentagona, whereas one compound from wheat is repellent. These findings provide compelling evidence that volatiles mediate important ecological interactions among plant species.

And here's the actual paper for those with access to Science articles:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/313/5795/196 4.pdf [sciencemag.org]

Reminds me of an old joke (2, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242231)

Person 1: My Amorphophallus titanum [wikipedia.org] has no nose!
Person 2: How does it smell?
Person 3: Fucking awful.

Slashdot has adapted... (1)

Bros (465955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242473)

... nothing to smell for you here, please move along...

Tangent question about sense of smell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16242571)

One question I've never thought of before..

People and organisms are able to navigate by smell. But surely the molecules are fairly widely dispersed in the air? If we're talking about a couple of 'tomato molecules' wouldn't they equally well hit a microorganism from the side as from the front?

not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16242589)

not news.

we already know that plants can smell from Thomas Boller

Yawn (2, Insightful)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242599)

Plants react to stimuli - that's well-known. They grow in the direction of light, the fruits ripen when there is ethylene in the air. Hell - you even have insect-trapping plants..

So, if there are unique chemicals that the prey species give off, there is no surprise the doddler can detect them and react to them. Cool that scientists did the study and found this example, though :)

Return of the killer tomatos ? (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242737)

We got to greet these new tomato overlords ... bow//euh//crawl to them!

"It's" is a contraction of "it is" (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#16242793)

"Its" is the possessive.

There is no charge for this editing service.

A plant.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16243011)

A plant with a sense of smell? Seems to me that there's a vegetable running the whitehouse (some would say a whole garden full of them), so I don't see how this is so impressive.

/ducks

My plants can smell? (1)

LinuxIsRetarded (995083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16243269)

I guess this means I shouldn't fart on them anymore.

Smelly socks anyone? (1)

Ruvim (889012) | more than 7 years ago | (#16243855)

The true question is can we prevent a dodder from attacking a plant by placing smelly socks between them?

Argh grammar! (2, Informative)

TheMoog (8407) | more than 7 years ago | (#16243879)

Turns out, it sniffs out it's prey

Ok flame-proof suit on, but "it's" is short for either "it is" or "it has". In this case the apostrophe isn't needed to denote ownership any more than you need an apostrophe in the words 'his' or 'hers'. More info at the Apostrophe Protection Society [fsnet.co.uk] .

Artful Dodders (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16243919)

if they placed tomato plants near a germinating dodder, the parasite headed for the tomato 80 percent of the time. And when they put scent chemicals from a tomato on rubber, 73 percent of the dodder seedlings headed that way.


The shocking revelation is that 7% of the dodders weren't fooled by the simulated tomato smell. Those dodders are seeing the fake tomato patches as a trick. Those are the dodders to watch.

I thought this was fairly evident when..... (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16244249)

they kept at least 50' away from the skunk cabbage.
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