plant memory?

Michael Levin mlevin at husc8.harvard.edu
Fri Sep 10 12:47:59 EST 1993


     Does anyone know anything about, or have any references to papers
on, memory in plants? I observed an interesting phenomenon recently,
and started wondering if this sort of thing has been looked at at all.
Here's what I saw. I recently planted a piece of a wild berry bush in
my back yard. It is a thorny black-berry like plant. It kept trying to
climb the fence and penetrate into my neighbor's back yard. Every few
days or so, I'd go out back and take the branches that got through the
fence and pull them out, back to my side. This went on for several
weeks. All of a sudden, I noticed that it "changed its strategy".
Instead of trying for the fence, all of the branches that were
attempting to get over there, started growing downwards, and stuck
themselves into the soil, and (as I found out when I pulled one up),
put out roots. This was a really drastic change from before. So, I
began to wonder if the lack of success it was having was what really
caused this to happen. So, how about it - has anyone heard of plants
changing their growth patterns based on repeated feedback?
Please email to mlevin at husc8.harvard.edu.

Mike Levin



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