Learning Plant Learning: Prof. Ariel Novoplansky at TEDxJaffa


  1. Sophon

    November 8, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    The part I can't wrap my head around is how the plants store the memory. I think there must be a simpler mechanism at play than actual storage of memory. For example, it could be that an automatically-occurring reaction to drought becomes desensitized for a period of time afterward…

  2. Laca Port

    November 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    All you need to imagine is a regulatory switch of sorts to stress-response gene which goes off. Many such epigenetic phenomena are known and require no involvement of nerves or a central nervous system (CNS). Recent studies also show that sometimes, such experiences can even be carried on to the following generations, a phenomenon called epigenetic inheritance.. I'll be happy to provide more info upon request.

  3. Sophon

    November 9, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Very interesting… is the severity of the experience correlated with how often epigenetic inheritance occurs? Or does it occur seemingly at random…

  4. Laca Port

    November 9, 2012 at 1:48 am

    It's early days but it can be generally expected that cross-generational effects will be more common and stronger where the correlation btw the conditions experiences by parents and offspring is stronger. However, natural selection is not expected to promote such lingering adaptations (readiness) where the environment is noisier and less predictable.

  5. Sophon

    November 10, 2012 at 2:40 am

    Thank you for your thought-provoking responses! I can see how lingering adaptations would be a hindrance in less predictable environments. Now I'm trying to wrap my head around 'readiness' – I always felt that humans are the fittest animal partially because we can predict the near future more accurately and in greater detail than any other organism. From that perspective, the better an organism is at 'readiness', the higher its chances of survival. But this doesn't fit with what you said…

  6. Laca Port

    November 10, 2012 at 10:05 am

    We already know, though haven't published yet… that the signal is a chemical one. There are promising indications that it involves ABA, a plant stress hormone, which is responsible for stress signaling within plants and can be exuded from roots, at least to some extent in some plants. As far as I know, there aren't any scientific evidence for the effects of music, as such, and of human emotions on plant growth.

  7. Laca Port

    November 10, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Humans aren't the "fittest animal" around. In evolution, "fitness" is only determined in relative terms, regardless of absolute abilities to survive and reproduce but that belongs to another discussion. Strong predictive abilities have been selected for in most, if not all organisms, including plants but such abilities can be extremely costly and if information re. future conditions isn't good enough, less flexible (the scientific term is "plastic") adaptations are selected for.

  8. EarthaKit2

    June 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    SO! Humans are only capable of doing dratic, cruel things to plants in order to experiement and find out ..out of curiousity!

    TED you're all a bunch of a……s!

    Thanks but no thanks….I'll learn elsewhere…among the Nature People.

  9. Mathias M

    August 8, 2013 at 7:02 am


  10. TheDarim

    August 30, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Ariel, Have you ever analysed symptoms of adaptation other than stomata movements? You have shown plants that could survive drought having been warned about the imminent danger. How have they managed it? Closing stomata itself does not seem to be a very good long term strategy of coping with drought. Any insights?

  11. Miriam Novoplansky

    August 30, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    The very last segment of the talk exactly refers to that…Plants that have experienced communicated drought cues, better survived subsequent drought periods (see the very last slide..). Nowadays, we are finalizing yet another experiment showing long-term drought readiness (priming) gained following stress cuing.

  12. hardaqa

    April 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Communication or roots canal system leaking…

  13. Mark Dobson

    March 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Amazing. ย Great work professor Ariel.

  14. Irene Esther

    January 13, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    What plants were used in this experiment?

  15. Sophia M.

    October 13, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Tolkien would have loved this – no, wait, he knew… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. John Gabris

    November 11, 2016 at 3:48 am

    they have a conscience, they share distressful information to other neighbor plant for survival needs and philosophical reasons, they have empathy for one another. They aren't senseless and for that reason I feel very different about them.

  17. Alex Tupou

    November 30, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Awesome presentation.

  18. squito94

    March 9, 2017 at 12:11 am

    I'll never look at plants the same way again.

  19. molly clock

    July 27, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    the communication system

    i love it.

  20. Joey Hinds

    August 2, 2017 at 11:23 am

    the more i think about this the less amazing it seems– though perhaps that's the point. Single celled organisms can do some amazing feats of communication/memory themselves

  21. opal1920able

    February 27, 2018 at 6:17 am

    We wouldnt be here without plants.

  22. Kim Elaydo

    August 21, 2018 at 5:56 am

    He's the Lorax. he speaks for the trees

  23. Kathy K

    December 9, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    I absolutely Loved your video! I love learning all about plants as I talk to my plants, sing to them, prune them, water them and care for them so much I actually feel love for my plants and I always thought that was a weird thing about me but after seeing your video I am starting to feel ok about it.

  24. Kenneth Bynum

    April 24, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    after my county agent registered my hardwood forest, we were told they had no records of anyone else ever having planted an extensive hardwood forest

  25. Zibo Li

    May 7, 2019 at 12:10 am

    Great finding and wonderful talk. The secret like this happening in the natural systems shapes our planet.


    July 22, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    He does know that plants absorb water ye? That is why the other plant reacted as well because the first plant was putting salt or other bad water in to the centre pot so the second plant absorbed the water just the same as the first so it had do the same thing as the first.

Leave a Reply