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Life on Earth has long been thought to be fundamentally dependent on sound. Although most known animal species communicate with one another through sounds, little is known about the relationship between plants and sound generation or recognition.
However, a growing body of scientific evidence does seem to indicate that plants may be able to recognize and react to both natural and artificial noises.
If this is the case, we may need to pause before felling a tree when there is another one nearby and may be able to cultivate healthier plants with the help of soulful music.
Observations and Supporting Data
Ancient folklore stories from around the world have always emphasized how plants pay attention to what people say. Over the years, the average person has also made several observations about plants and their listening abilities.
According to a common belief, plants respond to music by growing more quickly when played for an extended period. Additionally, it has been found that plants do better when exposed to gentle classical music as opposed to loud rock music.
Some experts think these data don’t necessarily indicate that plants are musical creatures. The plant owners who take the time to play music for their plants may also be giving them excellent care, which hastens their rapid growth and healthy state.
There are, however, several other trials that provide some indication that perhaps plans do listen to sounds. For instance, audible sound has been found to change the growth hormone levels in chrysanthemum plants, and maize seedling roots have been seen to bend in the direction of specific sound frequencies.
Researchers observed that Thale cress plants (pictured), when exposed to the sound of chewing caterpillars, released more defensive compounds when they later came into contact with these insects.
The assumption that plants can hear all these trials have supported by human voices or music.
The Involved Biological Mechanisms
There isn’t enough evidence to say definitively that plants react to sound. However, some scientists have suggested mechanisms by which these plants might hear and respond to sound produced by other living things or inanimate objects based on the evidence acquired.
There is no evidence that any form of sensory organs exists in plants. So how did they hear sounds and respond to them? According to some experts, plants may be able to perceive sound as tactile sensations, much to how human hearts may thud when we hear a stereo playing loudly.
Plants could respond to sound that travels in the waveform, just like winds, which they perceive as a tactile sensation. Scientists have proposed several strategies for how plants might speak to one another, including using fragrances or volatile molecules to interact with other plants.
It has also been hypothesized that plants can produce noises at frequencies that are inaudible to human ears.
Relevant Use Cases
If it is established that plants do hear and respond to different kinds of noises, this finding would have enormous practical implications for farming, forestry, and other related fields.
There are rumors that scientists in China are already using sound waves at specific frequencies to develop plants that produce more.
There is some evidence that acoustic vibrations can change the metabolism of plants. In the future, sound waves of different frequencies may be used to alter plant yields and growth rates drastically. The use of music that plants enjoy could also lead to the development of healthier plants.
The area of plant communication still has a vast amount of unexplored research potential. If plants perceive sound vibrations, they must understand how they are perceived.
Further research is required on how plants react to such vibrations and whether these reactions have real-world consequences for the plant in question or nearby plants.