Phloem: Is the living tissue in a plant that transports the compounds that are produced by photosynthesis (the sap) to the where it is needed. Sap is a water based sucrose solution (sugar)  that is made by photosynthesis. These sugars are transported to non-photosynthetic parts of the plant, such as the roots, or into storage structures, such as tubers or bulbs. (wikipedia)


Phloem (orange) transports products of photosynthesis to various parts of the plant.



In Trees this the innermost layer in the bark – see diagram. The transports around the plant happens in layers.



           Cross-section of a flax plant stem: 1)Pith 2)Protoxylem 3)Metaxylem 4)Phloem 5)Scelerenchya (bast fibre) 6)Cortex 7)Epidermis



After a bit of research, I found an article titled: Electrical Wiring and Long-Distance Plant Communication

I can’t access the whole article unfortunately but I am able to view the abstract:

Electrical signalling over long distances is an efficient way of achieving cell-to-cell communication in living organisms. In plants, the phloem can be considered as a ‘green cable’ that allows the transmission of action potentials (APs) induced by stimuli such as wounding and cold. Measuring phloem potential changes and separating them from secondary responses of surrounding tissues can be achieved using living aphids as bioelectrodes. Two glutamate receptor-like genes (GLR3.3 and 3.6) were identified as being involved in the propagation of electrical activity from the damaged to undamaged leaves. However, phloem APs are initiated and propagated independently of these glutamate receptors. Here, we propose new screening approaches to obtain further information on the components required for electrical signalling in phloem cables.



I like the visual image I have in my head of the this ‘green cable’, that is the phloem, that transmits messages in and around the plant.

I can access the abstract of the first chapter in this article : Chapter One – Mobile Transcripts and Intercellular Communication in Plants


Phloem serves as a highway for mobile signals in plants. Apart from sugars and hormones, proteins and RNAs are transported via the phloem and contribute to the intercellular communication coordinating growth and development. Different classes of RNAs have been found mobile and in the phloem exudate such as viral RNAs, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), microRNAs, transfer RNAs, and messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Their transport is considered to be mediated via ribonucleoprotein complexes formed between phloem RNA-binding proteins and mobile RNA molecules. Recent advances in the analysis of the mobile transcriptome indicate that thousands of transcripts move along the plant axis. Although potential RNA mobility motifs were identified, research is still in progress on the factors triggering siRNA and mRNA mobility. In this review, we discuss the approaches used to identify putative mobile mRNAs, the transport mechanism, and the significance of mRNA trafficking.

Of course a lot of this science is completely going over my head but I can kind of get a gist of this intercellular communication thing that is going on. Cell communication is an umbrella term in biology used to identify different types of communication methods between living cellulites. Every living organism has cells that need to communicate to each other to perform important bodily processes that are necessary for survival.

From an artistic point of view, this is quite a magical process. From what I understand – which is fairly little – but at a grasp and a very basic understanding of what is happening, the thought that both humans and plants have this intercellular communication system within us and them that a very similar is an incredible thing to get my head round.



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