News Stories

Plants Know We're Here

Are plants aware of us--do they react to what we do? Biologist Elizabeth Haswell says, "Picture yourself hiking through the woods or walking across a lawn. Now ask yourself: Do the bushes know that someone is brushing past them? Does the grass know that it is being crushed underfoot? Of course, plants don't think thoughts, but they do respond to being touched in a number of ways.

"It's clear that plants can respond to physical stimuli, such as gravity or touch. Roots grow down, a 'sensitive plant' folds its leaves, and a vine twines around a trellis. But we're just beginning to find out how they do it."

It has something to do with mechanosensitive channels, which are tiny pores in the plant cells' membrane. Trees act as nature's solar-driven sump pumps, soaking up water from the ground by using the energy of the sun and the air around them. Through a process known as "evaportranspiration," a tree's extensive root system absorbs all the water it needs.

At the same time, the tree absorbs trace amounts of chemicals in that water and transports it above the ground. Living trees can help us detect the presence of soil and groundwater contamination without turning a shovel or touching the water. The process, called "phytoforensics," takes less time and costs much less than traditional detection methods.

Engineer Joel Burken, who has tested this method at more than 30 sites in five countries and eight states. The process involves coring trunks of trees to gather small samples. Burken says, "The only damage to the site is taking a piece of the tree about the size of a pencil and just an inch long,"

The lonely young singer named Melody knew her mysterious lover was nearby, even though she couldn't see him. Anne Strieber thought of it, Whitley wrote it, and YOU can get it from your local bookstore on December 5th or pre-order it now!

Plants are aware of us, our streetlights are aware of us and our cell phones and computers are spying on us! How are we going to find out what's REALLY going on? You can trust unknowncountry.com to tell you the truth (and we correct ourselves if we're wrong). If you want this kind of reporting to be there the next time you fire up your computer, be sure to subscribe today!



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