Have you heard of the term “thigmomorphogenesis?” It is a phenomenon that states the response of any plant towards the human touch.
Yes, plants do respond to our touch, but it’s not visible at most times. They have their way of showing a response, and recently, scientists have found various types of reactions.
While some plants shrink their leaves when you touch them, others have a change in their whole gene system. Interesting, right?
Plant lovers and gardeners always had this doubt that these dramatic living beings, one of the essential sources of life on earth, respond to our touch and listen to our conversations.
Now, it has practical proof as well. How? Read on to find out how plants respond to our touch. 1.
What Happens To Plants When You Touch Them?
Different plants react differently to our touch. For example, when you touch a mimosa or “touch-me-not” plant, its leaves shrink back, closing themselves.
But, when you touch the meristematic region of a small pea plant, it will coil itself, thinking of it as an attack. In the case of typical indoor plants, the response might not be as visible as mimosa and pea plants, but it’s there—the genome system of the entire plant changes when you accidentally touch them.
But, how do these plants react to our touch? A research paper by Dr. Janet Braam of Rice University, Houston, has stated that some plants produce a molecule when we touch them.
This molecule is known as “Jasmonate” and protects plants from pests and other dangerous creatures. While you can find excellent results in plants, the case is not the same for trees.
Can Touching Plants Harm Them?
Yes, touching plants can be harmful as most of them do not like human contact. As per recent research, repeated touch can hamper the growth of a plant, due to which it would grow slowly or won’t develop to its fullest.
Moreover, within 30 minutes, around 10% of its complete genome gets altered when you touch a plant, which can lead to various diseases. Scientists have done much research and have found the exact results that we have stated here.
So, should we not touch plants at all? Yes, we should not touch plants all the time. Though it is pretty common to accidentally brush a plant or touch them, apart from that, make sure to avoid touching them with bare hands. Even if you are wiping the leaves, do it with a cotton cloth to prevent direct contact. 2. 3.
Do Plants Know When You Touch Them?
Yes, plants do know when we touch them, but that doesn’t mean that they are capable of “thinking.” Plants react to our touch as a defense mechanism and protect themselves from any danger. Unlike animals and humans, plants cannot walk or run in any accidents or danger, so they react differently by producing certain chemicals or enclosing themselves completely to prevent maximum damage.
As per research, t plants can completely hear when insects and animals chew their leaves and prevent them from doing that. How? They release certain chemicals at the points where the insects are chewing.
Plants adapt themselves to the environment and create potential shields based on that. They stay aware of their surroundings and respond accordingly. Sometimes these responses can be a false alarm.
Scientists are still working on switching off these false alarms so that plants can grow properly in controlled environments such as greenhouses.
Do Touching Plans Kill?
Yes, touching plants can kill them in some cases. Some plants do not like it when humans touch them, whereas some plants thrive in human contact and would show dramatic changes at the end.
There have been several such cases where scientists experimented to see how certain plants react to human touch. They gently patted some plants every day and waited for a few weeks.
At the end of the experiments, they got some shocking results. Some plants died within a few weeks due to insect infestation, while others showed remarkable growth.
How did the plants die? There are various plausible explanations for this. One such reason is that some plants released certain chemicals to repel human touch, which attracted insects and led to their death. However, there are still discussions about this topic, as there is no conclusion yet. 3.
How Do Plants Respond To Touch?
As stated above, plants react differently to human contact. While you might find excellent results with Canada Thistle, Carolina Horsenettle, and Kentucky Bluegrass by touching them gently every day, it is not the same in the case of Indianhemp and Sulphur Cinquefoil. The latter can die due to human touch.
Moreover, there are plants whose growth rate decreases rapidly due to constant human touch. How can we know which plant thrives on human contact and which ones hate humans? It is difficult to tell as there are no concrete results yet.
However, you can find this for yourself by doing a simple experiment. Gently touch your plant every day for at least two weeks and measure its growth.
If you see no changes, then do not touch these plants ever again! They do not like humans and would most likely have a dramatic death that will haunt them for days.
Plants are different from animals and humans in various areas. They cannot walk, talk, or protect themselves from danger.
Though it might not be visible, plants respond to various types of touch and create a protective shield from danger. While research is still going on in this area, we would like to think that our plant friends communicate with us through different signals.
Though their language is foreign, they are pretty similar to us and wouldn’t like to be touched. So, next time you touch your baby plant, keep in mind that they might not like your touch and try to give them some time to adapt to the new environment. 1. 5.