Can’t You Hear Me Buzzing
So did you see the article in National Geographic about how plants can “hear” the buzzing of bees? A researcher at Tel Aviv University named Lilach Hadani found that Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) measurably responds to that buzzing sound in two ways.
First, this plant increases the concentration of sugar in its nectar by up to 20%. And second, the Evening Primrose will itself vibrate in response to the sound waves given off by the wings of bees. The effect was produced by exposing the plants to the recorded droning of bees, and also to similar low-frequency sounds. Mid- and high-frequency sounds produced no response.
Hadani thinks that the flowers themselves are important to this botanical “hearing”. Evening Primrose has bowl-shaped flowers like little satellite dishes. But do plants with differently shaped blooms hear just as well – or at all? Only further research will tell.
Of course, it’s misleading to say that Evening Primrose hears bees or anything else. They don’t have ears, brains, or a nervous system. But they can sense the sound and react to it, just as they can sense when they are touched. Perhaps they feel the sound waves given off by a bee’s wings the way the hearing impaired can feel the vibrations of music.
Speaking of which, Hadani’s research does not support the idea that plants react to music, or prefer classical to rock-and-roll (or the other way around). That theory has been pretty thoroughly discredited.
Anyway, it’s a pretty interesting article, so go read the whole thing.