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More Amazing Plant Intelligence Plants use sound to find water

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posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 03:32 PM

A new study conducted by The University of Western Australia has discovered that plants have far more complex and developed senses than we thought with the ability to detect and respond to sounds of water.

This might not come as a surprise to some, who already know just how intelligent plants actually are. But what I find fascinating is that plants have a keen ability to sense and perceive the world around them, and can react accordingly in real time for survival. They do this without a brain or central nervous system. How is it possible? Scientist don't quite know, but the question has spurned a relatively new field of study dubbed: plant neurobiology - which is something of a misnomer, because even scientists in the field don't argue that plants have neurons or brains.

Now back to the study of how plants listen for water and respond:

From the abstract of the paper:
"Because water is essential to life, organisms have evolved a wide range of strategies to cope with water limitations, including actively searching for their preferred moisture levels to avoid dehydration. Plants use moisture gradients to direct their roots through the soil once a water source is detected, but how they first detect the source is unknown. We used the model plant Pisum sativum to investigate the mechanism by which roots sense and locate water. We found that roots were able to locate a water source by sensing the vibrations generated by water moving inside pipes, even in the absence of substrate moisture. When both moisture and acoustic cues were available, roots preferentially used moisture in the soil over acoustic vibrations, suggesting that acoustic gradients enable roots to broadly detect a water source at a distance, while moisture gradients help them to reach their target more accurately. Our results also showed that the presence of noise affected the abilities of roots to perceive and respond correctly to the surrounding soundscape. These findings highlight the urgent need to better understand the ecological role of sound and the consequences of acoustic pollution for plant as well as animal populations."

"We used the common garden pea plant (Pisum sativum) as the model for our study and put the plant into a container which had two tubes at the base, giving it a choice of two directions for the growth of its roots.
"We then exposed the plant to a series of sounds, including white noise, running water and then a recording of running water under each tube, and observed its behaviour.
The scientists found that the plants could tell where the source of the water was and their root systems grew towards that source based on sensing the sound of running water alone.
"It also was surprising and extraordinary to see that the plant could actually tell when the sound of running water was a recording and when it was real and that the plant did not like the recorded sound."
Dr Gagliano said when moisture was readily available in the soil, the plant did not respond to the sound of running water.

Read more at:

They can tell the difference between the real sound of water and a recording of it. Now that's darn cool.

Check out the bean plant video in the link below, and ask yourself, how does it know?
edit on 18-4-2017 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 03:47 PM
a reply to: PhotonEffect

Extremely interesting. Thanks for posting. Makes one wonder what "consciousness" really is?

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 03:49 PM
Very interesting . I like the notion that 'you' do the thinking and feeling and the deciding, not 'your brain' as such . 'Your brain' could just be there to run 'your body' , and both these are not 'you' . You leave your body and brain behind when they die .
This is the same as Vedic wisdom , very old understandings , and not unscientific either .
edit on 18-4-2017 by ZIPMATT because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 03:56 PM

originally posted by: TobyFlenderson
a reply to: PhotonEffect

Extremely interesting. Thanks for posting. Makes one wonder what "consciousness" really is?

It's true, whatever consciousness is, plants seem to exhibit some level of it.

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 04:27 PM
Fascinating stuff,nice thread. I think the plants can detect difference between actual water and recorded because of molecular properties, picked up through air perhaps. Or since sound is vibration, the recording lacks full vibrational spectrum of actual source.

Your article breaks things down nice and thoroughly. It is from 2007 though and I was curious where the studies have led to today. Most recent works source the 2006-7 studies. Interesting this has not been pursued more assertively.

Ran across this from 2012 for the mix:

The idea that plants have nervous systems stems from several sources of information. First, plants have genes that are similar to those that specify components of animal nervous systems. Such components include receptors for glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of proteins but that also functions as a neurotransmitter. Other components are neurotransmitter pathway activators, such as those known as G-box proteins, and a family of “14-3-3” proteins, which act to bind various signaling proteins. All these proteins have been observed in animals, in which they have been shown to have distinct roles in neural function. Yet they are also found in plants.
Second, although those proteins more than likely do not have “neural” functions in plants, some plant proteins do behave in ways very similar to neural molecules. Third, some plants seem to show synapse-like regions between cells, across which neurotransmitter molecules facilitate cell-to-cell communication. Included in the requirement for comparison is that the regions should have the same characteristics as animal synapses, such as the formation of vesicles, small bubbles that store the neurotransmitters that are to be released across the synapse. Fourth, many plants have vascular systems that look like they could act as conduits for the “impulses” that they need to transmit throughout the body of the plant. Last, some plant cells display what could be interpreted as action potentials—events in which the electrical polarity across the cell membrane does a quick, temporary reversal, as occurs in animal neural cells.

Let’s look at these various kinds of information and at what they may imply for the existence of brain-like functions in plants.

It is hardly surprising to find genes in plants that are related to animal genes involved in the nervous system. Indeed, confirmation of this fact was one of the first really interesting results of the various genome projects. The reason why it isn’t surprising is that all life on the planet is united through common ancestry. To find genes in common among broadly divergent organisms is what you’d expect with descent from common ancestors. Thus a typical bacterial genome turns out to have the equivalent of 2 percent or so of its genes in the human genome. For plants the number is about 17 percent, and for such organisms as flies and worms the number jumps to between 30 and 40 percent. Another way to measure similarity of genomes is to ask how much the actual sequences of bases in the genes of a genome vary. For vertebrates, when sequence similarity is examined, the number ranges from about 85 percent, for such distant relatives as fish, to 98.7 percent, for the chimpanzee, and 99.7 percent for our close extinct rela­tive, Homo neanderthalensis. What was not so expected, though, is the broad distribution of major gene catego­ries that are represented in both plants and animals.

Seems they have the hardware, including genes, and chemicals to support intelligent cognition to some degree.
I wonder if the "17%" similar genes to humans varies in different species of plants? Are some endowed with more of these genes than others.

Makes me think of the book Botany of Desire
and I wonder if the four plants include, apples, tulips, potatoes and cannabis have more of these genes, from having the most intimate relationship with humans over the eons. I would speculate that cannabis has the some of the highest count.

I would hope studies like this on plant intelligence and cogitation would shift our attitude and application with plants, increasing some type of symbiotic approach with us and perhaps agriculture methods/practices. Imagine if we could ask(program?) plants to defend themselves from certain pests or funguses. We already know talking to plants has an effect. Now what about specifics?

Additional related reading:
Philosophical Discourse on Plant Cognition and Awareness

Can The DNA of Plants Speak to Humans

I am assuming you have seen the doc Secret Lives of Plants from 1978, but if not I think you'd dig it. It blew me away!!

edit on 18-4-2017 by waftist because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 04:31 PM
This is an interesting bbc earth article..


It talks about plants communicating via a network of fungus roots. Something similar to the Internet.

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 04:39 PM
Wonder how this is going to effect those vegans who chose that life due to animal cruelty or animals ability to know their surroundings and suffering from being eaten???

Interesting as hell that's for sure. S&F
edit on 18-4-2017 by GuidedKill because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 04:48 PM

originally posted by: Misterlondon
This is an interesting bbc earth article..


It talks about plants communicating via a network of fungus roots. Something similar to the Internet.


Intelligent ecology, should gives us a heightened sense of responsibility in living systems, which we are a part of.
Reminds me of the native americans notion of us being stewards to nature, as opposed to the dominators of.

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 05:04 PM
a reply to: waftist

Appreciate the links, and write up.
I'll have to go through it all tonight after the kid is asleep.

The actual study uncovering the plants' ability to hear water is from this year, but you're right, the New Yorker article is now a decade old.

I think I have some other interesting studies on plant intelligence saved somewhere in my bookmarks. I'll dig em up and post em here.


posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 05:10 PM
Here's another study that reveals how plants can hear the chewing of their leaves by caterpillars, and respond with chemical attacks.

Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insect herbivore chewing

Plant germination and growth can be influenced by sound, but the ecological significance of these responses is unclear. We asked whether acoustic energy generated by the feeding of insect herbivores was detected by plants. We report that the vibrations caused by insect feeding can elicit chemical defenses. Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) rosettes pre-treated with the vibrations caused by caterpillar feeding had higher levels of glucosinolate and anthocyanin defenses when subsequently fed upon by Pieris rapae (L.) caterpillars than did untreated plants. The plants also discriminated between the vibrations caused by chewing and those caused by wind or insect song. Plants thus respond to herbivore-generated vibrations in a selective and ecologically meaningful way. A vibration signaling pathway would complement the known signaling pathways that rely on volatile, electrical, or phloem-borne signals. We suggest that vibration may represent a new long distance signaling mechanism in plant–insect interactions that contributes to systemic induction of chemical defenses.


posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 05:23 PM
a reply to: PhotonEffect

Cool, makes me ponder the idea of mimicking the predators pre-emptively to summon plants defenses. If we could convince them of the threat before actual threat, it may help to avoid actual threat..naturally. I suspect the day will come where we gain more control, or better yet more cooperative relationships with plants via direct communication and be able to affect their state.

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 11:08 PM
This is awesome. I love all these cool discoveries and mysterious stuff to do with plants. I especially like Cleve Backster's work. Plants are incredible complex.

I came across this a few months ago.

This video explains that plants use quantum mechanics in photosynthesis. When photons hit chlorophyll they excite an electron and then that electron is transferred to the reaction center to be stored as energy. The electron only has 1 nano second to get to the reaction center or the it will be absorbed into the chlorophyll. The problem is that the chlorophyll is a tangled mess and if it bounces off one wall it won't get there is time. The probability is so low that it gets there in time so the plant puts the electron in a state of superposition meaning it takes all possible paths at the same time. Since it takes all possible paths at once, it insures that it will take the correct perfect path and get there in time. Without super position, photo synthesis would be inefficient. This stuff is amazing to me.

posted on Apr, 18 2017 @ 11:26 PM
a reply to: xenon129

I love all these cool discoveries and mysterious stuff to do with plants.

Then this link may be highly relevant to you and this thread in general.

Cell Intelligence

posted on Apr, 19 2017 @ 05:31 AM

originally posted by: TobyFlenderson
a reply to: PhotonEffect

Extremely interesting. Thanks for posting. Makes one wonder what "consciousness" really is?

Aha! You mention the point that i was going to/will still add: There is a difference between consciousness and having a brain. All physical matter has a consciousness to some degree within its stuff, its being of organized materials.

A rock has a consciousness for being a rock. That makes it a rock, a limited consciousness. The more organized and complex the system, the more intune with the full spectrum of consciousness that is available.

We humans are at the point of starting to understand some of the ancient knowledge that we have inherited where we can look beyond our own minds to something greater.

posted on Apr, 19 2017 @ 07:13 AM
Perhaps plants have been asphyxiated into hibernation.

In prehistoric times, when CO2 was high, maybe they had capable senses.

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