How Plants Know The Time

Plants don’t have brains, it’s probably not news to anyone. The plans also don’t have muscles or anything resembling a nervous system, and yet they can move in some plants, this is actually pretty dramatic, think Venus flytrap, but there are tons of plants that move more slowly, and they do it in time with the coming of day and night. So how do they move and how do they know when to do it all without a brain or any of that other stuff? Many plants, such as members of the legume and wood sorrel families tuck their leaves in at night.

We don’t totally understand how this happens, and we have almost no idea why, but scientists have identified some of the players involved, the process of how plants tuck themselves in at night is called a Knick tenacity. Gnostic movements are a plant movement in response to a stimulus that doesn’t occur in a particular direction. The leaves don’t follow the moon or anything, they just droop. Temperature change plays a role in this response, the cooler night air can help signal the plant’s reaction, and the warming sun in the morning does the opposite, but it gets quite a bit more sophisticated than that, involving not just temperature changes but several different types of chemical reactions. One player in this process is a molecule called a fight Chrome, which absorbs light fighter. Croom participates in a reversible chemical reaction, meaning it doesn’t just react to form a product and then stop.

Instead, it can switch back and forth between two different forms, depending on the conditions, these two forms are called PR and PFA. Far initially fight a crime takes the form of PR so-called because it absorbs red light, which there’s more of during the day when the sun is out. As PR absorbs red light, however, it is converted into PSR which absorbs far-red light instead. Basically, the less intense wavelengths as the sun sets absorption of fire, red light causes PFOA to convert back to PR. Some of it will change back over time in the absence of any light as well, which means that the fight chrome automatically cycles back and forth between forms, depending on whether it’s day or night. These changing forms of fighter chrome are important in structures called pull vine i.e., a pull. Venus is a region of bulbous tissue at the base of a leaf that acts as a flexible joint. It’s like a plant elbow. Well, enough PFOA is present in the pull vine as the plant pumps water to a specific section of the joint. The change in water pressure within the cells called trigger pressure basically flexes the joint like a muscle which bundles the leaves up for the night. When the chemical reaction reverses the trigger, pressure shifts back. Additional leaf chemicals called leaf closing and leaf opening substances also play a part in nighttime well, leaf opening and closing.

There’s a lot of variety in these chemicals, but the general idea of oscillating chemical reactions is similar in the same way many flowers open in the morning and close at night for reasons that are even more poorly understood. It might be to conserve flowers sent to protect their nectar, to keep pollen dry or some other reason. But the mechanism might be similar. Pedals, after all, are just a type of leaf. This isn’t the only kind of day and night plant movement either. Many species actively follow the sun during the day and a process called Helio Trope ism. Unlike Gnostic movements, Trope isms are planted movements that are oriented in a specific direction. Helio Trope ism can help leaves get the most possible sunlight. Often Helio Trope ism in leaves is also controlled by Turkish pressure and pull VIII. If you wanted a lot of new terminology, all in one sentence. So, in this case, the leaves can move continuously to track the sun throughout the day rather than just opening and closing. And some flowers follow the sun too. It seems to have a few benefits, like providing a nice warm place for pollinators and helping the plant’s seeds develop. But many Helio Tropic Flowers have no pull vines by young sunflowers, instead turned to face the sun by growing their stem on one side at a time.

It’s not totally clear what chemicals the sunflower is used to send sunlight, but the changes in STEM growth appear to be governed by a hormone called oxen, which in this case tells certain parts of the plant to grow. In response to light, the stem of the sunflower grows faster on the side that gets less light, thanks to a higher level of oxen activity on the shady side that tilts the developing flower toward the sun at night and the absence of sunlight sunflower stems reorient themselves to face east again, and in the morning the light directed growth process resumes. But sunflower stalks don’t keep growing forever. Solar tracking only happens in young sunflowers once they’re fully mature.

The flowers face east and never move again. So now you know how to tell what direction things are. If you’re in the middle of sunflower fields and you also know that plants don’t need brains are nervous systems or muscles to respond to their environments. As long as they’ve got chemistry on their side and they’re more sophisticated about it than we think able to keep track of. Time and act appropriately. Which is pretty smart. Thanks for watching this episode of Sideshow, which was supported by our community of patrons. If you like what we do here and you’re interested in being a part of it. Check out on dot com slash sideshow.