If you are reading this, you are on the internet. We are connecting. In the short thirty years since the internet was invented, we take it for granted.
Such an extraordinary explosion of knowledge has occurred because we can connect with the minds of other people instantaneously, no matter where they live in the world.
Our familiarity with the internet has facilitated a shift in our thinking about plants. Scientists in the twenty-first century are beginning to understand that plants, too, communicate. They do so through a network that’s been nicknamed “the wood-wide web.”
Plants communicate through their roots, connected in their turn to mycorrhizal fungi. These thread-like forms of life —hyphae—are capable of sending toxins to predators and warning their kin of predators nearby, enabling those neighbors to release poisons as well. The net of hyphae is called the mycelium. What you see above ground is the fruiting body of this fungal web in the form of toadstools, mushrooms, and truffles.
Mycelium has had a complicated relationship with humans, Some, sensing people as predators are poisonous, others don’t mind at all being sauteed with a bit of garlic and butter and finding their way to your mouth. Still, others are