'Thinking' Plants

Can Plants Think?

In a new study, scientists have found a cabbage relative capable of remembering and responding to information

A Polish study showed plants send electrochemical signals in a way that can be likened to an animal nervous system. This image shows chemical reactions in leaves that were not exposed to light; they are reacting to a chemical signal from a leaf that was exposed.

Plants 'can think and remember'

The scientists discovered the "nervous systems" of Arabidopsis plants

Plants are able to "remember" and "react" to information contained in light, according to researchers.

Plants, scientists say, transmit information about light intensity and quality from leaf to leaf in a very similar way to our own nervous systems.

These "electro-chemical signals" are carried by cells that act as "nerves" of the plants.

In their experiment, the scientists showed that light shone on to one leaf caused the whole plant to respond.

And the response, which took the form of light-induced chemical reactions in the leaves, continued in the dark.

This showed, they said, that the plant "remembered" the information encoded in light.
The researchers used fluorescence imaging to watch the plants respond

Thinking plants
What was even more peculiar, Professor Karpinski said, was that the plants' responses changed depending on the colour of the light that was being shone on them.


"So the plants perform a sort of biological light computation, using information contained in the light to immunise themselves against diseases that are prevalent during that season."

The Laboratory of Physiomics and Crop Design

Discovery of light (quantum) memory and photoelectro physiological signalling in plants

Evidence for Light Wavelength-Specific Photo-Electro-Physiological Signaling and Memory of Excess Light Episodes in Arabidopsisa

Magdalena Szechyńska-Hebda, Jerzy Kruk, Magdalena Górecka, Barbara Karpińska and Stanisław Karpiński*

This work examines light-wavelength specific electro-physiological signaling and cellular light memory in Arabidopsis. Animals have their network of neurons, synapses, electro-physiological circuits and memory, but plants have their network of chloroplasts (connected by stromules), photo-electro-physiological signals transduced by bundle sheath cells, and cellular light memory.