Thanks science, for confirming that plants have feelings too. Okay, maybe not feelings so much, but according to the University of Missouri researchers Heidi Apel and Rex Cocroft, plants can sense themselves being eaten. Some may even try to
Of course, it’s hard to say whether or not this is like the dread an animal might experience when it is caught and/or dying. But the researchers did take the time to test this out, placing caterpillars on thale cress. This is a plant that is similar to mustard, cabbage, and kale. They then used lasers and a small mirror to mimic the type of vibrations a plant might
feel when caterpillars are eating. They then put real caterpillars on, and they measured increased levels of mustard oils. Mustard oils have been used by a number of different species of herbivorous insects. This was increased compared to non-lasered plants.
Scientists saw this as the plant reacting to a threat and acting to protect itself. Granted, a plant is never going to be kicking and screaming, but in a way, I find this to be a little bit questionable, and the health benefits of more fruits and vegetables remain unchallenged.
Even with this research though, the researchers know that this doesn’t mean that the plant in your window feels the same way your dog or cat does when hurt. Plants lack a central nervous system, but they do believe that there is more self awareness among plants than previously thought.