Researchers Record Plants Emitting “Sounds” When Uprooted in Groundbreaking Discovery

Plants Use Ultrasonic Sounds to Communicate Distress in New Study from Tel Aviv University

A team of researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel have discovered that plants produce ultrasonic sounds when they are harvested, which could be a way for them to communicate their distress. The study, led by evolutionary biologist Lilach Hadany, found that these noises increase when the plant is under stress and are described as a polling or clicking sound.

Hadany explained that plants interact with insects and other animals on a regular basis, and since many of these organisms use sound for communication, it would make sense for plants to do the same. The team recorded tomato and tobacco plants in stressed and unstressed conditions, using their definition of stress to include instances where plants had their stems cut or were dehydrated. They found that distressed plants emitted high-pitched sounds that were undetectable by humans but could be heard within a radius of over a meter. On the other hand, unstressed plants did not produce much noise at all; they remained quiet and continued with their usual activities.

While the exact mechanism through which plants produce these noises is still unknown, this study sheds light on an intriguing aspect of plant biology and opens up new possibilities for understanding the ways in which plants communicate with their environment.

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