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Beware Vegans! Flowering Plants ‘Hear’ When Eaten and Become Defensive, Says Research

Research Was Conducted by Playing Recordings of a Feeding Caterpillar to Flowering Plants

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Flowering plants
Flowering plants and trees hear when eaten and become defensive to the stimuli (representative image). Pixabay
  • Flowering plants and trees hear when eaten and become defensive to the stimuli is found out in a study
  • The plants were made to hear vibrations of a feeding caterpillar and other was just sounds with same acoustics
  • The plants listening to caterpillar vibrations showed production of mustard oil which made the caterpillar crawl away

June 23, 2017: Plants and animals can be a source of energy for us but when it comes to defense, plants are not behind. In some cultures and communities, people have started choosing a vegan lifestyle as they are against animal slaughter. The viral videos on how animals are treated in slaughterhouses make people take up the vegan lifestyle. Most people think that plants do not have a conscience but research show otherwise.

Research show that plants do react to external stimuli and some research shows that they also communicate through chemical signals. They grow towards light, compete with other plants for water and nutrients and also signal for help when needed.

In recent news about science, a research published in Oecologia which was conducted in University of Missouri suggests that plants can hear when they are being attacked and can also become defensive from the attack. Heidi Appel (senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences) and Rex Crocoft (professor in the Division of Biological Sciences) carried out the research by conducting experiments in which they placed caterpillars on the flowering plants of cabbage and mustard.

ALSO READ: Find out why Hinduism always emphasizes on being a vegetarian

They put up a piece of reflective material and a laser on a leaf to measure its movement as a response from vibrations of feeding caterpillar and then they recorded the sounds of caterpillar feeding and played them to similar plants and on the other hand, they played sounds with similar acoustics but a different source to other plants.

The results showed that when caterpillars fed on both plants, the plant exposed to vibrations of caterpillars produced more mustard oils as it is unpleasant to caterpillars so they crawled away and those who were played sounds with similar acoustics showed no change in chemical response.

Appel and Crocoft said that more future researches would be upon how the vibrations are sensed by the plants and how plants would react to other vibrations to keep the pests away. Crocoft stated, ‘Plants have many ways to detect insect attack, but feeding vibrations are likely the fastest way for distant parts of the plant to perceive the attack and begin to increase their defenses.’

Appel said,’ ‘This research also opens the window of plant behavior a little wider, showing that plants have many of the same responses to outside influences that animals do, even though the responses look different.’

This research was part funded by National Science Foundation and it could prove to be a useful tool in agriculture!

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

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Here are 5 Mistakes that may Kill Your Plants in Winters

Mistakes that kill your plants in winter

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Plants in winters
It is your duty to take care of your plants during winters as some careless mistakes might kill them. Pixabay

As winter approaches, humans go into power-saving mode and do all that it takes to make the cold season as cosy as possible. Considering that plants can’t do so by themselves, we need to take care of them during these few months.

For some plants, winters are a time when they go into hibernation. That means they can slow down their growth or even go completely dormant. The severely cold temperatures can sometimes send them into shock. So we need to give them some extra love and care during these possibly distressing months. Here’s a look at some things that could cause harm to your plants and what you can do to prevent it. Vinayak Garg, Founder of LazyGardener, underlines key points to be kept in mind.

1.Relocation

Now plants that are in the ground, cannot be moved of course, but potted plants should be moved to a place where they will get as much sunlight as possible. In winters, the days slowly become shorter, which means less sun exposure, so if possible move the plants according to the sun, allowing them to soak up as much as they can.

They should also be kept in a location where they don’t get too much of a cold breeze of drafts.

Make sure that the plant’s foliage does not have dew on it, if it does, you can wipe it off. Plants like succulents are sensitive and water deposits on the plant can kill them.

Overwatering winters
Overwatering plants during winters is not a good idea. Lifetime Stock

You can move your outdoor potted plants indoors, next to a window that has the most sun exposure. Also, make sure the window is clean so it allows more sun to shine through as opposed to a dusty one which would make the sunlight diffused. Small things can help the plant withstand the cold temperatures.

2.Water Temperature

Have you ever gotten up on a cold winter morning and walked to your bathroom in a half-asleep state and turned the tap on and jumped up in shock? Yes, sometimes the tap water can get so extremely cold that your hands might start hurting after washing them with the cold water. This extremely cold water can harm your plants as well.

The cold water will force the sensitive roots into shock. A good habit would be to fill up a bucket of water in the morning when you wake up, let it sit and reach at least room temperature and then you can water all your plants.

3.Overwatering

It is very easy to overwater a plant during the winters. It may seem to be counter-intuitive to not water your plants in winter, with the air being very dry, but plants are the most susceptible to root rot during winters. Because of the minimum sun exposure, the evaporation rate also drops down a lot. This causes the water in the pot to accumulate for a longer period of time, giving the roots more opportunity to rot. It might be hard, but avoid watering your plants until the dire need arises, or the soil is dry completely. You should also take care of when you water the plants. Watering in the evening and night may be detrimental to plant because the temperatures drop severely at night and the water that the soil holds will also get very very cold, which will, in turn, harm the sensitive roots of the plant. The best time would be in the late morning when the sun is just beginning to warm the soil.

4. Cleaning the plants

Cleaning winters
Cleaning your plants even during winters is very important. Pixabay

We need to make sure that in winter, the plant is at its optimum capacity to soak up as much sunlight as possible. When dust accumulates on the leaves of the plants, it prevents them from performing photosynthesis as well as they can. Cleaning the surface of the leaves with a soft damp cloth is the best way to get your plants looking pretty and giving them the best chance to take in all the sun that they can!

Cleaning your plants also includes getting rid of any dead leaves or stems. Dead, rotten leaves and stems can cause infections in healthy ones. So it is necessary to get rid of the dead parts promptly.

Any weeds should also be taken out of the pot. Sometimes small vegetation grows in the pot without you even planting anything, but these weeds take up resources from the soil.

Also Read- Here are Ways to Make Your Office Eco-Friendly

5. Repotting

Repotting of plants should be avoided in winters. Plants are at their dormant phase in winters and repotting can disturb the root system easily, leading plant into a state of shock. Repotting should be resumed in early springs which starts from February. (IANS)