Connect with us

Plants Feel a Lot of Things, But Feelings Aren’t One of Them

Credit: Gear Patrol

Plants grow because they grow, not because you ask them to.

Despite popular belief that singing and talking to your plant will help it grow faster, retired botanist Lincoln Taiz knows this is not the case. This notion that plants could handle information in ways that resemble sophisticated animal nervous systems is simply not the case.

Since plants do not have a brain, there is no way that they could interpret feelings, make intentional decisions, or possess a conscious. People feel that plants could make decisions because of some of the actions that plants take to warn other parts of their system of impending danger.

Wounded leaves can send warning signals to other parts of the plant, noxious chemicals can deter munching predators, and tiny sensing hairs that are in Venus flytraps’ insect prisons can count the number of touches that a bumbling insect makes. But none of this happens because of a living nervous system.

Animal brains evolved due to the fact that they needed information on how to catch a meal as well as avoiding becoming one. Plants, however, are rooted in the ground and rely on sunlight for energy, which does not require any thinking whatsoever. It just sits and collects the energy it needs to function. If it was ever trying to fight back against a predator, it would be wasting so much energy that it wouldn’t be able to fight the threat.

We should be glad plants can’t feel, frankly. Between forest fires and human beings cutting down trees, being a sentient plant would be pretty lousy, to say the least. Plants have enough to do to help our environment thrive with their connection to sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water.