UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How do plants react to their surroundings?
Question Date: 2017-09-28
Answer 1:

Thanks for the interesting question!

Plants can react to their environment in rich and varied ways called tropisms. Like animals, plants can detect different stimuli, and then react accordingly – just usually in a much longer amount of time than it takes for animals. For instance, plants have a special cell called a statocyte that can detect the direction of the pull of gravity. On the basis of the pull of gravity, the plant then sends its roots in the direction of gravity (the ground) and its leaves in the opposite direction (the air). This is called geotropism.

Plants can also detect sunlight, and will tend to grow towards the light (phototropism). Some plants will even turn over the course of the day to face the sun. Other plants can detect touch, and change their shape in response. Other plants have stems that will bend towards water (hydrotropism). You can see, then, that plants have evolved these different behaviors to better find sunlight (for energy) and soil (for nutrients and water).

Thanks for the great question,

Answer 2:

That depends on the plant, and on the surroundings. Most plants can sense the direction of light and grow leaves in that direction, or the direction of gravity and grow roots in that direction. Some plants, such as pine trees, can respond to attacks by pests and send out chemicals that tell other plants of the attack, allowing the other plants to mount their own defenses against these pests.

Note from ScienceLine moderator:
The following links can add information to this question:
link here(1)
link here(2)
link here(3)
link here(4)

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use