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Plants Communicate Through Ultrasonic Sounds: Study Reveals

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Plants Communicate by Making Sounds Beyond Our Hearing Range

The Surprising Way Plants Signal Their Suffering

Plants have the ability to produce popping or clicking sounds at ultrasonic frequencies, which are too high for humans to hear. These sounds become amplified when the plants are under stress, according to a recent study. The findings suggest that plants may use sound as a means to communicate their distress to the surrounding environment.

Plants are Not as Passive as They Seem

Contrary to popular belief, plants are not passive organisms. When stressed, they undergo various interesting changes, such as emitting strong odors, changing color and shape. These changes serve as warning signals to nearby plants, triggering increased defense mechanisms. Additionally, plants can utilize animals to control pests that pose a threat to their well-being.

Investigating Plant Sounds

While it is known that plants can detect sound, it remains unclear whether they can also produce it. To explore this, researchers conducted experiments on tomato and tobacco plants under different conditions. They recorded the sounds produced by unstressed plants, dried plants, and plants with their stems cut off. The recordings were made in both a soundproof chamber and a regular greenhouse.

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Plants Make Clicking Sounds as a Sign of Distress

The sounds emitted by plants resemble clicks or pops that are beyond the range of human perception. These sounds can be detected within a radius of over a meter. Stressed plants produce more noise, averaging around 40 clicks per hour depending on the species. Plants deprived of water exhibit a distinct acoustic profile, clicking more frequently as they become drier and wilting.

Uncovering the Mystery Behind Plant Sounds

Although it is not fully understood how plants produce these sounds, previous research has shown that dried plants undergo a process called cavitation, where air bubbles in their stems expand and collapse. The ability of plants to emit sounds can have significant implications, such as helping humans identify thirsty plants and provide water before they become a problem.

The Future of Plant Sound Research

Further research is needed to determine if other plants can perceive and respond to these sounds. Previous studies have indicated that plants can enhance their drought tolerance in response to sound, making it plausible that they can also react to distress calls. The next phase of research aims to explore this possibility. The study was published in the journal Cell.

Source: Science Alert

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