Have you ever seen a touch me not plant or a Venus flytrap respond to touch and sensations? If you have, maybe you have wondered if plants can sense things, are they able to sense emotions too? It has been a point of wonder as well as research among plant enthusiasts and botanists for the longest time. So, do plants have feelings?
Do plants have feelings?
No, plants don’t have feelings. While we do know that plants can feel sensations, there is no current scientific basis to state that plants have feelings. Since the plant doesn’t have a brain to process emotions, it is safe to say that plants have no feelings. So, while some plants may react to touch and sensations, it doesn’t lead to a change in the emotions of the plant.
However, plants do feel sensations. While in some cases, the reaction to such sensation is subtle, in others it is heightened.
For example, plants tend to enter dormancy when winter arrives. It is a minimal reaction that proves that plants do have sensations.
In plants like the Venus flytrap or pitcher plant, they react to sensations with heightened movement. The Venus flytrap closes when a fly lands on the plant. So, these are more heightened reactions to sensations. Generally, this happens due to a change in the chemical synthesis of the plants and not due to the change in the feelings of the plant.
While plants have no brain, they still use neural activity to perform acts that require some basic intelligence.
The plant always tends to grow towards the light, and the roots grow towards water. Similarly, in the case of Venus flytraps, the trap only closes after it is stimulated twice. So, it uses some basic intelligence to keep count of the number of stimulations the trap has received, before closing.
Carnivorous plants can also detect whether the prey it has trapped is edible or not. If it is not edible, the plant spits it out by itself. It is weird since the plants have no neural receptors, so how do plants detect and differentiate between different activities?
The question of whether plants have feelings is long-debated. Darwin believed that plants hit their brains below the surface. If this was his wild imagination or a fact is something that is yet to be found.
Similarly, in the 1970s, a book called The Secret Life of Plants which puts forward the theory that plants have feelings became a bestseller. While the book was dismissed as being fiction by scientists, it highlights the curiosity of people to know if the plants have feelings.
Even today, large-scale scientific projects are being carried out to explore the question of whether plants have feelings. So, the future might have different answers to the question but as of now, there is no scientific evidence to prove that plants have feelings.
Thus, the answer to the question of whether plants have feelings is negative in the present situation.