Since Plant Appreciation Day is on April 13, we believe this month’s blog post is the perfect time to help you appreciate plants by uncovering fascinating facts about plants that may surprise you.
Plants are all around us. They are an intricate and critical piece of life on earth. We use plants to brighten up our living decor, we find plants in nature, we use plants as a food source, we grow and care for them and much more. Whether you are new to plants or an expert in owning plants, you can learn a lot from plants and realize that there is much more to plants than meets the eye.
We went to our HortyGirl potted plant expert and put together top fascinating facts about plants to help you appreciate and learn more about plants. Read on to find out more.
Fascinating Facts About Plants
Plants have the amazing ability to adapt
While Cheryl Dawn Smith, HortyGirl CEO and Founder was in her horticultural studies, she learned that plants have an amazing ability to adapt to their surrounding environments.
For example, in desert environments, plants have adapted to help conserve energy and water. Plants such as cacti and other succulents grow thick fleshy leaves to store water and a deep root system to tap into underground water.
Due to its natural desert-like habitat, this common indoor potted plant, Zebra Haworthia has adapted to be able to withstand long periods with little water. Water is stored in their fleshy leaves as a result they require less watering.
Whereas in the tropical rainforest, plants have adapted to survive the heat and humidity by seeking sun through layers of vegetation. These tropical plants such as the Air Plant live on the surface of other plants and grow on trees to take advantage of the sunlight canopy through the trees.
There are many more adaptations of plants and so much goes on inside the leaf, stem and roots of a plant that we are unaware of.
Plants talk to each other
Another amazing fact is plants have the ability to communicate to each other through their roots.
According to science, plants secrete chemicals called “root exudates” into the soil and can modify behavior or share nutrients with each other depending on the different environmental cues.
Plants can react to sound
Just like humans, plants can react to sounds in the environment around them, but in subtle ways.
For example, recent research shows that roots of plants can respond to sounds in their environment. The research uncovered that pea plants were able to locate a water source by sensing vibrations from water flowing in the ground.
Plants sense gravity
Plants can also sense gravity and respond to it, known as ‘gravitropism’. Plants can detect the pull of gravity on their bodies through specialized cells in their roots and stems, and grow in response to gravity pulling on it.
These specialized cells are known as statocytes, and contain starch grains that collect at the bottom of the plant and act as an ‘internal compass’ for plants. The roots of plants grow in the direction of gravity, down into the soil while the stems grow in the opposite direction, upwards to reach the sunlight.
Plants can attract and lure pollinators
Take the popular holiday plant, the Poinsettia. These plants will turn its green leaves red to attract pollinators because the actual flower in the centre is not attractive enough. This is done during specific times of the year when flowers are ready for pollination, and the plant times this by using the amount of hours of darkness in a day.
Another plant has a uniquely designed flower that attracts a specific pollinator inside, a certain type of bee. This bee gets trapped inside the flower and can only find its way out by going past the area that requires pollination.
Orchids also have a crafty way to lure pollinators. The flowers of orchids mimics a female wasp by releasing a perfume luring male wasps in to pollinate the orchid.
Plants are used for food source
A popular food producing plant is the Coconut. It has a unique design that ensures its survival and enables it to travel to new lands. Coconuts have a fibrous outer coating that allows them to float on water so they can land and germinate.
Another plant as a food source is strawberries. The Strawberry plant is actually a member of the rose family, and has seeds on the outside because of the plant’s structure, which has a central receptacle surrounded by tiny, dry fruits.
Plants have unique attributes
Plants also have unique attributes that help them survive and self heal.
Take the Cobra Lily, for example. The Cobra Lily is a rare find and has the unique ability to change gender from year to year. Young Cobra Lily plants produce male flowers with pollen until they are mature enough to produce fruit. When they are ready to fruit, the plant produces female flowers that will hopefully become pollinated.