Bad News Vegetarians: Plants Can Hear You Eating Them Alive (Video)

For many, the decision to become a vegetarian is a moral one: it is wrong to treat our fellow animals, capable of thought and feelings, as a food source. Replacing meat with plant-based sources of the nutrition we require is seen as a more ethical choice on the basis that plants would not be aware of their suffering. Well, turns out, we’re wrong.

Plants don’t have brains.  There is no evidence yet so suggest the existential concerns of some animals are present in plants.  But the latest findings on plant ‘awareness’ are still going to blow your mind.

The study, recently published by researches at the University of Missouri found:

Plant germination and growth can be influenced by sound, but the ecological significance of these responses is unclear. We asked whether acoustic energy generated by the feeding of insect herbivores was detected by plants. We report that the vibrations caused by insect feeding can elicit chemical defenses.

In plain English, this means that plants can hear when they are being eaten, and they use that information to fight for their lives.

Not only are plants using sound, but touch.

Brussels sprouts and other plants can actually detect when a plant-eating insect places eggs on their leaves.  To neutralize the threat and guarantee their own survival – the plants actually alter the surface chemistry of their leaves to attract female parasitic wasps.  The wasp larvae feed on the plant-eating eggs and move along, leaving the plant intact.

So no, you’re not likely to get a hug or a kiss from a tulip, and there are unlikely to be any Nobel Prizes headed in the direction of the flora community.  However, this developing science does enable us to understand that plants are aware of being attacked, and do fight for their lives – in the same way animals do.

There are plenty of other excellent reasons to be a vegetarian that have nothing to do with the consciousness of that which we consume – but it is a reminder of the interconnectedness of all Earth’s creatures, plant and animal.