Tomato ‘screams’ when stressed out
The report said researchers placed microphones a few inches from tomato and tobacco plants, deprived them of water and cut their stems. The plants eventually emitted an ultrasonic signal between 20 and 100 kilohertz, the researchers found. According to their paper, which has not been reviewed by peers, when a tomato plant’s stem is cut, it emits 25 ultrasonic distress sounds over the course of an hour, and tomato plants made up to 35 distress signals an hour when deprived of water. The researchers wrote: ‘‘These findings can alter the way we think about the plant kingdom, which has been considered to be almost silent until now.” Previous research has shown that even brushing against a plant can ‘stress it out’—meaning it ‘warns’ nearby plants that something has happened, the researchers said.
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