How Trees Talk to Each Other and Share Gifts

Trees communicate with each other and have a lot of things to say. Here's what they talk about.

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Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons

Few things reveal the hubris of humans so clearly as how we've historically considered nature. Plants, animals, and the planet's resources are there to serve us, we seem to think. When it comes to living organisms, we minimize their value because they don't think and act like us – it's a terribly myopic view that thankfully we are starting to rethink. Even something as mundane-seeming as slime mold (my favorite single-cell organism!) reveals truly uncanny intelligence when one takes the time to appreciate it.

Likewise, I am pretty sure that octopuses are smarter and more evolved than humans, it's just hard for us to fully appreciate it because they are just so other. But it's trees that really get to me. They are the skyscraping sentinels of the planet and allow humans to live and breathe. Some are thousands and thousands of years old, and the more we learn about them, the more astounding things they reveal. They have no need to boast about how great they are, they just live their stoic lives and do their work. But meanwhile, unbeknownst to most of us, the secret lives of trees are wildly deep and complex. They can count and care for each other, they recognize their offspring, they form bonds like old couples, they are aware of their neighbors and give them room, they form form friendships and remember their experiences.

trees talk
 pixnio/Public Domain

Now if that all sounds like a bunch of wacky new-age treehuggerery – there is plenty of science behind it all. But how are these gentle giants – who have neither mouths to speak with nor ears for listening – doing so much chatting? And even offering resources to one another?

You may have heard of the cutesy-ly nicknamed Wood Wide Web – the underground fungal network that acts a bit like our own networks. We have written about it a lot, because "Treehugger," of course. But I have never seen it so succinctly illustrated as in the video below produced by the BBC. It explains it all wonderfully with great visuals ... and after watching it, you may never look at trees the same way again.