The ecological implications of interplant drought cuing

Omer Falik, Shachar Mauda, Ariel Novoplansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Plants can perceive, integrate and respond to multiple signals and cues informative of imminent threats and opportunities. Here, we tested the hypothesis that unstressed plants are able to perceive and adaptively respond to stress cues emitted from their drought-stressed neighbours, and to induce adaptive responses in additional unstressed plants. Triplets of split-root Stenotaphrum secundatum plants were grown in rows. One root of the first plant was subjected to drought while its other root shared its pot with one of the roots of an unstressed target neighbour, which in turn shared its other pot with an additional unstressed target neighbour. Cuing from drought-stressed plants increased survival in both proximate directly cued and in more distant relayed-cued target plants under drought. Drought cuing lowered plant performance under benign conditions. Experiments with a Wilty mutant and fluridone treatments showed that drought cuing was greatly reduced in ABA-deficient Pisum Sativum plants. Synthesis. Our findings demonstrate for the first time the possible adaptive implications of both direct and relayed stress cuing among neighbouring plants, the possible cost of plant responsiveness to drought cues under benign conditions and the involvement of ABA in interplant drought cuing. The results suggest that interplant root communication of drought cues could have novel implications for plant interactions, survival and performance under both natural and agricultural settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Abscisic acid
  • Pisum sativum
  • Stenotaphrum secundatum
  • drought cuing
  • interplant cuing
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • plant communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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