even plants do it

this has got to be one of my favorite pieces of research. eveh! (i’m so easily entertained.)

Kin recognition in an annual plant

“Kin recognition is important in animal social systems. However, though plants often compete with kin, there has been as yet no direct evidence that plants recognize kin in competitive interactions. Here we show in the annual plant Cakile edentula, allocation to roots increased when groups of strangers shared a common pot, but not when groups of siblings shared a pot. Our results demonstrate that plants can discriminate kin in competitive interactions and indicate that the root interactions may provide the cue for kin recognition. Because greater root allocation is argued to increase below-ground competitive ability, the results are consistent with kin selection.”

and it looks so innocent sitting there like it’s just minding its own business!:

update 05/03: see also more plants playing favorites

(note: comments do not require an email.)


  1. @hbd chick. Cool about the plants. Kin preference has also been seen recently in bacteria. Go figger. By the way I got a not where you remark that marriage really is important for society, that is who marries whom. I kind of suspect that was worked out by the village wise women while the men were doing something trying to make history, or least being dragged along by it. My hunch is that the wise women were encouraging highly fertile cousin matings so of course the church to the opposite tack and called them witches. OF course history is created mostly by who marries whom even if you discount the demographic angle.


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