Our new research is thrilling the press around the world!

A collaboration between prof. Lilach Hadany and Dr. Yuval Sapir from the School of Plant Sciences and Prof. Yossi Yovel from the School of Zoology has led to an outstanding research that demonstrates that plants can hear! The study monitored the reaction of the evening primrose flower (Oenothera drummondii) to the sound of a recorded bee hum. It was found that the humming sound led to a fast increase of 20% in the sugar concentration in the flowers’ nectar, compared with those flowers left in silence or exposed to higher-pitched sounds. 

Their study has shown for the first time that plants can rapidly respond to the sounds of the pollinators. These sounds cause a vibration in the flower structure and apparently stimulate a process in which the flower serves as the plant’s auditory sensory organ. Both the vibration and the sugar increase in the nectar were frequency-specific to the pollinators’ sound.  

This fascinating discovery, which has been published in leading papers and journals around the world, is another milestone in the process of understanding the world of plants and how they communicate. Next Step – Can they speak? And if so – How?