Planted in Fascination

When I was younger, around the age of five, my father told me not to peel or scratch the bark off a tree. He said they can feel, a bit like humans, and it would hurt them, just as it would hurt us if someone tried to peel our skin off! OUCH!

Anyway, nearly eight years on and this advice and information has stuck with me for as long as I can remember, so I suppose it was a familiar come back when I stumbled across a fascinating article in the New Scientist magazine. The article was about how plants and trees touch, hear, taste, smell and see. 

Today, many trees are being cut down, to build roads e.t.c. Plants aren’t really a big deal anymore, gardening shows are being replaced by talent contests. So is it really a big surprise when a group of scientists find out how trees and plants can use their senses? Probably not. 

In mythological stories e.g. lord of the rings, trees were thought of as humans and treated with just the same amount of respect. But that’s all changed now, trees obviously can’t be seen as humans…or can they?! 

Did you know that plants SEE light? They have photoreceptors in their stems and leaves, sort of like how we have them in their eyes. Plants can also see and know where the direction of light is coming from; it’s as if they are hungry for it. 

And if you thought that was clever wait until 
you hear about the Venus Fly Trap! The Venus Fly Trap is known for the way it senses a fly coming towards it and magically traps it in it powerful leaves. But how exactly does it do this? Well, when a fly comes towards the plant it sends a current which radiates throughout its leaves, it then activates the ion channels in the cell membrane and snaps shut! This all takes place in less than a tenth of a second. 

So it is now beginning to become clearer on how trees and plants use their five senses. These magnificent creations play a very important role in the universe and I suppose it’s safe to say they are not a graffiti wall, but are extraordinary in their purpose and should be well honoured.

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