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Sensory Senses of Plants

Research that proves that plants perceive and are sensitive to the environment

Although plants lack ears and eyes, they are more sensitive and interact better than we think. They do this through hundreds of membrane proteins that can detect microbes and other stresses. Even, there are studies that show that although they lack sensory organs, they can communicate and react to threats.

The protein membranes act as sensors. Researchers from four nations managed to create the first network map for 200 proteins.
Shahid Mukhtar, a professor of biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), explains that understanding these interactions would lead to ways to increase the plant’s resistance to pathogens and other stresses such as heat, drought, salinity or cold shock.

The sensory senses of plants

The plants listen, see, taste, smell, and touch, but they do not do it as humans do. They are intelligent and sensitive according to Stefano Mancuso. According to Stefano Mancuso, authority in the world of plant neurobiology and professor at the University of Florence, they could have up to 15 senses. The plants in the last 5 million years focused on generating their own food using the sun and the earth; while animals (including humans) feed on plants or other animals.

Plants perceive light and other visual stimuli, intercept the light, use it and recognize its quantity and quality. These grow, move, twist and compete with each other. They can see through a series of photo-receptor molecules that recognize different types of light and wavelengths. These molecules are found in greater concentration in their leaves, but they have the whole plant and even the roots, although in this case it is to escape from the light.

They can smell with the whole body since they have thousands of receptor cells to volatile compounds, also known as odors. Through odors, plants talk to each other, to insects and other animals. Although much is still unknown about it. There are odors that indicate danger and odors that attract certain insects or that repel predators. The plants recognize flavors. Your palate specializes in identifying essential chemicals for your development. The roots test the soil looking for nitrate, phosphate or potassium and can detect them even though they are in very low concentrations. Some feed on reptiles, these are carnivorous.

The plants have touch and are very linked to their hearing. Through tiny organs called mechanosensitive channels, present in all the skin of the plant, can react to the contact of another body or any vibration. An example is a mimosa, his leaves close when we touch it, but it does not happen if the wind blows or it rains. If the contact occurs repetitively without danger to the plant, after a while it becomes accustomed and stops closing.

Touch is present in its roots, using it to surround and overcome obstacles. In the climbers, they use it to find places to grab onto. The plants listen through the same mechanosensitive channels that they use for the touch, they are channels that react to vibrations. There is a winery in Muntalcino, in Italian Tuscany, which cares for its vineyards with music by Mozart. It was an international laboratory experiment in plant neurobiology that led to the generation of an agricultural revolution through Bose speakers. It was proved that with Mozart the vines grew better their bunches, matured earlier and their grapes were richer in color and flavor. It is known that low frequencies (between 100 and 500 Hz) favor the germination, growth, and health of the roots; on the contrary, the high ones seem to have an inhibiting effect.
There are hypotheses that state that plants are able to react not only to the voice but also to the emotions of their caregivers.

There are experiments that discover that plants react to emotions. An example is the one made in 1960 by Cleve Backster, who began to take polygraph tests connected to plants to measure their reactions. He did it only for curiosity, but to his surprise, he found that when he irrigated them and showed them affection there were similar signs to those that in interrogation was welfare or reassuring. In the same way, there were negative signs of the polygraph when his attitude was threatening against their safety, for example approaching with scissors or fire.


According to what is presented here there is no doubt that the plants are very similar to us and have the ability to perceive, feel emotions and communicate. The concept that we had of the plants should be looked at from this perspective which leads us to understand their sensitivity, their connection with the rest of the universe.

We should ask ourselves if plants are much more capable and intelligent than humans, more in keeping with the harmony of the universe.

We should learn from the plant world because they are capable of producing their own food, they are sensitive to their environment, they are in harmony with the rest of the universe and above all, we depend on the plants for our survival.


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