As humans, we’ve become very good at making the world revolve around us. But, by doing so, we’ve made it all too easy to forget how intelligent nature truly is.
Plants are an essential part of everyday life; they release oxygen that helps us to breathe and play a key role in keeping animals well-fed. Simply put, without plants, the world would struggle.
There are many weird and wonderful things to know about plants. This guide will take you through ten ‘crazy’ facts, helping you to realise just how fundamental they really are.
1. They Can Feel Sensations
A common question that gets asked is whether plants can feel pain. In short, the answer is no. But, there’s a more scientific explanation…
Studies have shown that plants can feel ‘sensations’; for example, they can detect when something as light as a bug is on them. Pain, however, is a coping mechanism that humans use when something is wrong. It’s a natural “fight or flight” response. Plants do not have a nervous system or brain, meaning they cannot signal pain. If only we were more like plants!
In short, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that plants can feel pain, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t sensitive.
2. There Are Thousands Of Plant Types
If you’re a passionate gardener, you’ll understand the struggles that come from choosing plants for your garden. There are just too many to choose from! As a matter of fact, there are over 200,000 species of plants and counting. Some can only be found in certain climates, meaning it’s near impossible to see all of them in a lifetime.
3. Some Are Carnivores
A carnivore is something that feeds on other animals. You may be surprised to learn that some plants fall into the carnivore category. Venus Flytraps capture flies and eat them to boost their nutrient intake. Pretty morbid, right?
4. Their Stems Are Very Important
Each part of a plant has an important role to play. To start with, let’s explore into what the stem does.
The stem of a plant may look flimsy, but it’s crucial for plant growth. Think of it like your digestive system. The stem takes water and nutrients to different parts of the plant, ensuring that it’s got exactly what it needs to thrive.
5. Leaves Have An Important Job, Too!
Next up – the leaves. The leaves on a plant don’t just look pretty, they have a whole host of benefits.
The leaves absorb the light from the sun and water from rainfall or watering cans. As well as taking in light and water, the leaves absorb carbon dioxide, which is needed for photosynthesis (more on that later).
So, next time you see an animal biting holes into leaves, consider gently relocating it. Plants need their trusty leaves to function properly.
6. Roots Have Multiple Purposes
You might not see the roots of a plant, but rest assured they’re working tirelessly to keep everything healthy. The roots absorb nutrients and water from the soil, sending it up towards the rest of the plant. Not only this, but the roots act as a spine, ensuring that the plant stays upright.
If your plants seem limp or start to wilt, the quality of the roots might be to blame. However, also pay attention to the stem, as any breakages in it will also cause wilting.
7. They Go Through Photosynthesis
Plants make their own energy through a process called photosynthesis. This process involves absorbing sunlight through the plant’s chlorophyll, which converts any water into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is then released, and the hydrogen gets stored as food. The plant will also use carbon dioxide from the outside air as food.
8. The Smell Of Grass Is A Distress Call
Plants may not be able to feel pain, but did you know that grass can signal when it’s distressed?
Believe it or not, the smell that comes from freshly cut grass is actually a distress call. As you cut grass, it’ll go into panic mode, releasing volatile organic compounds to try and save itself from the ‘injury’ you caused. Not all is lost though, as this aroma can attract insects that benefit the land.
9. Trees Make Thousands Of Pencils
Trees are incredibly resourceful. They produce oxygen to help us breathe, stabilise soil and become home to many different types of wildlife. But, nature aside, they also help us to make pencils and paper.
To put it precisely, an average-sized tree can provide enough wood to make 170,100 pencils! While we don’t particularly agree with mass deforestation, it’s always interesting to learn about the history of everyday objects.
10. Roses Are Part Of A Family
Just like humans, plants belong to different families. Take the rose family for example, which includes 4,828 known species and 91 genera. Within the rose (Rosaceae) family, you will find peaches, pears, strawberries, apricots and even apples. Did you know they were all related? Looks like a pretty good family to be in!
Bonus Fact – Many Plants Are Endangered
Just like animals, many species of plants are endangered. In fact, a staggering 68% of plants are likely to face extinction in the near future. This is because, unlike humans, plants have no control over their surroundings. They can’t just get up and leave, meaning if their environment deteriorates, they do too.
With climate change and deforestation working at a force greater than ever before, the rate plants are going extinct is incredibly alarming. To put it into statistics, plants are going extinct between 1,000 and 10,000 times faster than they would naturally. It’s safe to say that they are far more vulnerable than animals.
As you can see, plants have so many purposes and quirks. The next time you tend to your garden or walk in nature, take a moment to appreciate them and all that they do. The world wouldn’t be the same without them!