Farmers collect cabbage on the outskirts of Cairo. REUTERS

Feeling lonely and hate keeping pets? You can talk to your plants!

A new study at Exeter University in Britain claims to have found that plants can communicate with one another. And for the first time, the process has been captured on camera too.

According to researchers, a cabbage was "heard'' warning its neighbours of trouble ahead after it had a leaf cut-off with scissors. They said they were able to detect the process by modifying a cabbage gene which triggers the production of a gas that is emitted when a plant's surface is cut or pierced.

A protein luciferase which makes fireflies glow in the dark was transmitted to the DNA so the other plants' emissions could be monitored on camera.Two nearby cabbage plants, which were untouched, received the message they should protect themselves. They did this by producing toxic chemicals on the leaves to fend off predators such as caterpillars, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

The researchers believe the plants may be communicating in "invisible language" among each other which is still unknown.

"We have managed to show in a visual way that the gas emitted by plants when they have been wounded affects their neighbours. But at this stage we don't know why," Prof Nick Smirnoff, who led the research, was quoted in Business Line.

"They could have been trying to alert the plant's other leaves to the damage and their neighbours have just picked it up, or they for some reason evolved to alert other plants. It is not clear why that would be beneficial," he said.

The footage will be the highlight of a forthcoming BBC series on plants by Iain Stewart, professor of Geoscience Communication who saw the experiment at Exeter University.