Did You Know | Nature

Plants Are Not Only Alive, But Conscious, And This Changes Everything

The Pachamama Alliance / NY Post

We know that plants are alive, since they require water and sunlight to survive, but what if we told you they may possess consciousness?

It's more than just your plant leaves growing tall and moving around to absorb sunlight, these colorful, and essential, forms of life possess an intelligence that we may never be able to understand.

As more scientific studies are being done to understand the bottom of the food chain, we have achieved incremental steps in better understanding plants, but that has only led to asking more questions.

A recent study published in Annals of Botany looked at how plants react to a range of anesthetics. They're discovered that plant intelligence is a real thing, and the results of their study will blow your mind!

A team of scientists demonstrated that plants, like the Venus flytrap, can lose consciousness with the use of anesthetics without dying.

According to an article in the New York Times, "The researchers trapped pea plants in glass chambers with ether, soaked roots of the sensitive plant and seedlings of garden cress in lidocaine and even measured the electrical activity of a Venus flytrap's cells. An hour or so later the plants became unresponsive. The seedlings stayed dormant. And the Venus fly trap didn't react to a stimulus similar to a bug crawling across its maw. Its cells stopped firing."

Once the anesthetics wore off, the plant surprisingly regained consciousness.

The membranes of the plant stopped communicating when given anesthetics, which shows that their cells also transmit messages via electricity.

"Plants are not just robotic, stimulus-response devices," Frantisek Baluska, a plant cell biologist at the University of Bonn in Germany and co-author of the study, said in the New York Times article. "They're living organisms which have their own problems, maybe something like with humans feeling pain or joy. In order to navigate this complex life, they must have some compass."

That being said, the scientists are not quite sure what this means. There seems to be no clear-cut explanation as to how these chemicals affect human, animal, and plant consciousness, but all we know for sure is that modern medicine would not be the same without it.

Do you believe plants have a level of consciousness that we don't understand, or are they truly as simple as they seem?

[H/T: NY Times]

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.