We generally don’t think much about plants except what they produce like fruits and vegetables or for decoration. They seem so slow to us and stationary, but actually they move and breath and carry on their lives in truly amazing ways! Did you ever ask, how do plants know when it is spring time or winter time?
“Sibum Sung, a molecular biologist at the University of Texas Austin has an idea of how this protective action works on a cellular level. He discovered a special molecule in plants that gives them the remarkable ability to recall winter and to bloom on schedule in the spring. Sung published his results last December in the journal Science Express.”
“While digging through the DNA of a small cabbage-like plant called Arabidopsis, Sung and a colleague discovered that the production of a special molecule could be turned on or off by a string of genetic material. When the plant gets cozy for the winter, this molecule is not produced, repressing a plant’s ability to create flowers. But after 20 days of consistently frigid weather, production of the molecule gets turned back on, signaling another gene to stop repressing flower production and start preparing for spring.”
So how do plants do it? In reviewing a new book, The Restless Plant by Dov Koller (Harvard, 2011), Roger Hangarter’s Plants-in-Motion web site was referenced the site has time-lapse videos of plant movements.
Sarah Wyatt writes in science…
“The Restless Plant presents a “guided tour of plant movements.” Koller starts with the classic, rapid leaf movements of the sensitive plant and [Venus] flytrap but then provides a broader understanding of plant movement that includes growth responses, expansion of plant organs, and movements of individual cells and organelles. The world of plants becomes a fascinating dance with many movements: contractile roots pulling a bulb into the soil; the folding of leaves and flowers at nightfall; leaves and flowers tracking the Sun; roots searching for water and nutrients; the explosion of seeds into the world at large; and growth responses to light, gravity, water, temperature, and touch.”
“Motors” provide these movements, and, although the use of the term for some of the responses is not without controversy, the analogy is sound. For more rapid, reversible movements, motors involve turgor-driven responses in specific cells (pulvini) that are filled or drained of water as needed for movement. For the slower growth movements, the tropisms, the motors are growing cells within specific regions of the plant.”
Evolutionists are clueless with plant evolution but not at a loss for using imagination in their explanations! The Moody Institute of Science made one of their most beautiful and intriguing films about plant movements back in the 1990s: Journey of Life! A must see for any video library. Plants are not to be taken for granted!