Plants have between 15 and 20 senses, including smelling, tasting, and sensing light and sounds. The root tips are especially ‘intelligent’: sensing gravity, water, light, pressure, hardness, volume, nutrients, toxins, microbes, and messages from other plants. Here are some remarkable examples of plant behaviour:
- Some corn plants emit a scent when caterpillars attack them, and the scent attracts parasitic wasps which then eat the caterpillars.
- Many plants produce caffeine, a drug which encourages bees to remember the plants and return to pollinate them.
- Forest trees use a ‘wood-wide-web’ of underground fungi through which they deliver food and water to other trees in need, and also signal others about insect attack.
- Plants eat sunlight!