I have some problems with this article. The section regarding alpine thistles seems to ignore the huge moisture-collecting effect of aboveground matter, such as dead plant remains, that results from condensation of dew. Experiments need to be done that control for this and for the increased amount of organic matter found at the “mother’s” site versus another site. Also, the article reeks of excessive anthropomorphism.

Elizabeth Oscanyan
Philomont, Va.

Aboveground plant debris does collect moisture, and that process is considered one of the mechanisms by which offspring plants get extra water near a fallen parent plant. In the experiment described, the plots were similar, if not for the presence of the fallen plant .—S. Milius