I started out writing a post about the possibility of plants having feelings and ended up experiencing a double synchronicity much more fun than the original piece I intended. Let me tell ya about it.
This morning I was sitting on the front porch drinking some cold coffee and listening to the sounds of the neighborhood as it awoke. At one point I saw a tiny bee fly within arms reach, at eye level, and hover. “Weird! Cool!” I thought.
Then it silently buzzed away only to return a moment later and repeat this odd posture. I was struck by the connection. It then zipped over to a nearby peonies bush searching for long since deflowered blooms. As I watched its fruitless efforts and pollination I saw it land on the stem of a leaf where a couple of ants, too, were exploring. It made me wonder, “Does that tickle?” referring to the plant, of course. So I decided to find out.
My research uncovered a variety of opinions, most confirming a plant does lead a sensory filled existence. Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Gareth Cook, reported in Scientific America that plants smell, hear (or respond to the vibration associated therewith), and even communicate by the releasing of chemicals and root-based signaling.
Carol Kaesuk Yoon, contributing science writer with the New York Times commented on plants responses when wounded, kicking into protection mode. She also addressed a plants behavior,
They move, for one thing, carrying out activities that could only be called behaving, if at a pace visible only via time-lapse photography. Not too long ago, scientists even reported evidence that plants could detect and grow differently depending on whether they were in the presence of close relatives, a level of behavioral sophistication most animals have not yet been found to show.
Even Al Jazeera published a piece by Michael Marder, Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, who said,
It is up to ethical thought to catch up with the recent scientific findings about the plants’ responses to damaging stimuli, active search for nourishment and avoidance of danger.
… they are a case-in-point of intelligent behaviour and sensitivity, albeit not tethered to a fully developed cerebral structure and nervous system. From the lower to the higher varieties, plants teach us that it is possible to act purposefully in the environment without forming human-like conscious representations of its relevant parts. They are highly social, communicative organisms, even though their communication patterns are not as striking to a naked human eye as, for instance, the bee’s waggle dance. Those who deign to speak on behalf of plants, considered as insensitive and indifferent organisms, unwittingly reveal their own insensitivity to the complexity of non-human living beings.
Okay, then. In this correspondent’s opinion plants CAN be tickled.
Speaking of tickling, that’s exactly what happened to me next.
I wanted to find some time-lapsed video of plants to demonstrate Carol Kaesuk Yoon’s posit of plant behavior being visible when viewed in this fashion.
Start the Amy Winehousevideo above, and when it reTRY aches exactly 40 secs click play on clip below.
I wanted to hear Back to Black again, as I’d focused more on the tomato plant’s movements than I had the song – one I really enjoyed, so I restarted the track and went back to reviewing time-lapsed footage. I found an interesting clip of a growing watermelon, and at 45 seconds into the Winehouse song I coincidentally clicked play on this video.
TRY IT! Start the Amy Winehouse video above, and when it reaches exactly 45 secs click play on clip below.
Déjà vu! Another choreographic Wonderland! In the synchronistic world in which I live, I pondered, “Was this the Universe’s way of confirming my theory.” I think, YES. So, tickle me this… who’s tickling whom?
R E S O U R C E S
Scientific America (article by Gareth Cook)
New York Times (article by Carol Kaesuk Yoon)
Al Jazeera (article by Michael Marder)
Amy Winehouse, Back to Black:
Rhapsody(for those of you who use it)
Time Lapsed Tomato Plant
Time Lapsed Watermelon