Yellow jewelweed (impatiens pallida) appears to have the ability to recognize ‘relatives’ from ‘strangers’ and then shift resources for growth to benefit relatives.
Although plants have the ability to sense and respond to other plants, their ability to recognize kin and act altruistically has been the subject of few studies. The authors explored kin recognition in Impatiens pallida (yellow jewelweed). By moving their resources into leaves, these plants not only positively affected their own growth, but also negatively affected their competitors’ growth. This is the first instance where researchers demonstrated that a plant’s response to an aboveground cue is dependent upon the presence of a belowground cue.