A plant doesn’t need a brain to remember things
According to a new study, Mimosa pudica, also known as the sensitive plant, can learn from experience.
The sensitive plant is famous for its ability to rapidly close its leaves in response to touch (as well as light and heat) by reducing the turgor pressure in its cells.
During the study, researchers dripped water on the leaves of the plant at a steady rate. The plant quickly learned to ‘ignore’ the harmless stimulus and keep its leaves open in a type of learning referred to in animals as habituation. In fact, the plant behaved similarly to animals in another way: in a more stressful (light-deficient) environment, it habituated faster.
What’s even more amazing is that researchers do not yet know the mechanism with which the plant is recording these memories- after all, plants do not have brains.
Similar work by the same research team has also shown that chili plants can differentiate between kin and nonkin seedlings when communicating with them.
Also, if you hadn’t heard about it, it’s well-documented that tomato plants send out signals to attract parasitic wasps when they are being eaten by tomato hornworms. The wasps then lay their eggs in the hornworms like plant-contracted hitmen.
Basically, plants make me really nervous.