Say it with flowers: flowering acceleration by root communication Academic Article uri icon


  • The timing of reproduction is a critical determinant of fitness, especially in organisms inhabiting seasonal environments. Increasing evidence suggests that inter-plant communication plays important roles in plant functioning. Here, we tested the hypothesis that flowering coordination can involve communication between neighboring plants. We show that soil leachates from Brassica rapa plants growing under long-day conditions accelerated flowering and decreased allocation to vegetative organs in target plants growing under non-inductive short-day conditions. The results suggest that besides endogenous signaling and external abiotic cues, flowering timing may involve inter-plant communication, mediated by root exudates. The study of flowering communication is expected to illuminate neglected aspects of plant reproductive interactions and to provide novel opportunities for controlling the timing of plant reproduction in agricultural settings.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014