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Date: May 10, 2021, 08:31:26 PM


Is it plausible that plants actually have “brains”? : Science : - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum


Is it plausible that plants actually have “brains”?

By: dayan (M) |Time : May 02, 2018, 06:42:51 AM
African White Yam Plant

This question may seem settled until one takes a closer look at certain plants that exhibit characteristics typical of animals. The first obvious cases are the plants that blossom like flowers and give out sweet aroma which attract flies and other insects to its petals. Once the insects perch on the petals, they are trapped and digested by the plants, sometimes slowly and at other times speedily. There are other plants that when one touches the leaves of such plant, they fold instantly as if to dodge the touch.

But the plants that motivated this question are the African white yam plant, the African pumpkin, and the bean plant. All the three plants are classified as “climbers” in biology: they climb and twist around a stake placed near them.
These three referenced plants can go rogue and climb to extended distances, but would climb any stake provided . Often a farmers quick fix to the “wayward plant syndrome” would be to provide a stake and re-wrap they wayward plant around the stake accordingly, after which it starts to climb, twisting and turning along the way.

However, what is interesting (or even intriguing) is the fact that these plants would climb and twist around and along the provided stake; never venturing away from the stake. One observes that as soon as these plants sprout and come in contact in any way with the stake, they start to climb it impulsively and instinctively. Why don’t they simply ignore the stake and just grow anywhere, anyhow, even on the ground? They do grow on the ground if left unattended, but  once a stake is provided, they climb along happily, twisting and turning as they grow.


My elementary school biology class taught me that green plants seek out the rays of the sun to obtain the sun energy to enable photosynthesis. But plants that crawl on the ground still have access to sun energy. If they can still obtain sun’s energy while crawling on the ground, why then bother climbing stakes? Climbing of stakes would require burning of energy stored by the plant.

So, why bother climbing and twisting along a stake? How do the plants even come to understand the complex manoeuvre of twisting and climbing? Only living things with brains can (or would) concern themselves with such task. Plants have been demonstrably shown to exhibit complex behavioural characters; therefore one can only assume that there is a “central processing unit” somewhere in the plant’s biology. 
Since there is no single organ in the plants that has been identified as such central processing unit of the plant, can one then conclude that such plants’ brains are evenly spread out throughout its cells.? Can brainless living organisms demonstrate complex reasoning patterns?

Expert opinions are appreciated in advance.


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