Plants Do Scream When You Cut Them, Study Reveals

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You can put it simply: Plants Are Smart And They Communicate Too (Scream)!


Plants may not have the gift of brains like human beings but they talk to one another through smell and communicate with insects to maintain their own survival.

We as children were all budding with curiosity and had plucked leaves or flowers from plants. We used to be scolded by our parents and they always told us that ‘ it hurts them when you do this.’ 

We have always thought of it as a white lie but researchers have revealed that some plants do scream when their leaves are forcefully plucked.

Like any living being, plants want to remain alive and researchers proved that when certain parts of the plant are cut off, they emit a sharp noise which can be interpreted as a scream.

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You might now feel guilty about the leafy greens you have cut over the years, but the situation is completely different from that of a human. 

Human beings can process pain because of the presence of a nervous system. Plants do not have such a system. So, a plant’s scream might not be due to suffering but is a form of communication for survival.

The Plant’s Scream: A Research


Researchers at Tel Aviv University have found out that certain plants emit a high-frequency sound when they face stress in the environment. 

These researchers were working on Tobacco and Tomato plants by cutting off their stems and limiting the supply of water. They had then placed a high-frequency microphone 10cms away from the plants.

When the researchers put these plants under stress, they emitted ultrasonic frequencies between 20-100 kHz. As per the research, this high-frequency sound wave could tell other plants about their distress in the vicinity.

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The researchers tried to cut off the stem of a Tomato plant and observed that the plant emitted 25 ultrasonic distress sounds for almost an hour.

When they deprived these plants of water, the Tomato plant sent out louder distress signals at 35 ultrasonic distress sounds while the Tobacco made 11 sounds.

The researchers kept a few plants away from harm and discovered that they emitted 1 ultrasonic sound every hour.

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The researchers collected these data and put them through a machine learning model. This would help them predict a plant’s needs and assist the farmers in taking care of their crops. This is still a work-in-progress and the potential is extremely promising.

Is It Okay For You To Cut The Plants If They Scream?


Yes, you can. Not all stress is bad stress.

Pruning and trimming the plants helps them by stimulating growth. The best time to trim is during the growing seasons, sometime around summer or spring.

You need to keep in mind that certain houseplants like tree ferns and palms are more particular so you need to trim them with ease.

Pruning or trimming plants is beneficial when you spot yellow or dead sections in your plants. These things can encourage fuller growth in your plant.

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