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Re: Plants The sixth sense

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: Re: Plants The sixth sense
  • From: StellrJ@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 21:56:18 -0600 (CST)

In a message dated Thu, 31 Jan 2002 12:18:35 PM Eastern Standard Time, "brian williams" <pugturd50@hotmail.com> writes:

>   Well, I have been around plants my whole life and have been paying a lot 
> of attention to how they grow. I am sure some of you have theories on this 
> sixth sense they seem to have. 

"Sixth" sense?  So what are a plant's other 5 senses?

> The plant monstera deliciosa I have planted in a large pot with a totem. 
> Well, I decided to fertilize the two plants beside it for no real reason 
> some slow release fertilize. after about 3 to 4 weeks monstera had shoot two 
> roots in to both pots directly on to the fertilize. Now how the heck did it 
> know it was there?
> 

Probably chemical particles in the air.  Plant roots are designed to seek out nutrient particles in the soil, so detecting similar particles in the air is but a small step.

> I have noticed root go all across the floor to get to water as well as roots 
> reaching out to grab wall that are a foot away. The seem no to be growing 
> blindly as some would think. Any one know where there eyes are?
>
Chloroplasts.  How else would plants "know" which way to turn toward the sun?  Seeking darkness is common in the seedling stages of many climbing aroids.
 
> Not to mention orchids and other plants impersonating other creatures in 
> order to have them pollinate there flowers. A lot say evolution with the 
> plant and insects that's hard for me to buy. Any ways how did the plant find 
> out what the insect looked like and its colors?

It didn't have to, any more than a lichen-mimic moth needs to know it looks like lichen.  In the case of the moth, start with a population of variously-colored moths who instinctively rest on lichen-covered tree trunks; then, those who happen to look most like lichens would be the survivors.  In the case of the plant, the same general principle operates.
> 
Jason Hernandez
Naturalist-at-Large





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