Can plants memorize?

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From what I know, neurons are the only ones that create memories through long-term potentiation.

Do plants have any equivalent process? Can they create a "repository of information"?

I am guessing not. Other than genetically coded molecules that are reacting to the world outside and perhaps even accumulating in a specific area of a plant due to some stimulus, from what I know, I don't think plants have "memories".

I was having a hard time finding satisfactory papers and articles on this. Any thoughts appreciated.
 

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  • #2
Ygggdrasil
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I don't think it directly answers your question, but here's an article I remember reading from the New Yorker that addresses some research about whether plants are "intelligent." Here's an exerpt:
The quotation about self-censorship appeared in a controversial 2006 article in Trends in Plant Science proposing a new field of inquiry that the authors, perhaps somewhat recklessly, elected to call “plant neurobiology.” The six authors—among them Eric D. Brenner, an American plant molecular biologist; Stefano Mancuso, an Italian plant physiologist; František Baluška, a Slovak cell biologist; and Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh, an American plant biologist—argued that the sophisticated behaviors observed in plants cannot at present be completely explained by familiar genetic and biochemical mechanisms. Plants are able to sense and optimally respond to so many environmental variables—light, water, gravity, temperature, soil structure, nutrients, toxins, microbes, herbivores, chemical signals from other plants—that there may exist some brainlike information-processing system to integrate the data and coördinate a plant’s behavioral response. The authors pointed out that electrical and chemical signalling systems have been identified in plants which are homologous to those found in the nervous systems of animals. They also noted that neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate have been found in plants, though their role remains unclear.

Hence the need for plant neurobiology, a new field “aimed at understanding how plants perceive their circumstances and respond to environmental input in an integrated fashion.” The article argued that plants exhibit intelligence, defined by the authors as “an intrinsic ability to process information from both abiotic and biotic stimuli that allows optimal decisions about future activities in a given environment.” Shortly before the article’s publication, the Society for Plant Neurobiology held its first meeting, in Florence, in 2005. A new scientific journal, with the less tendentious title Plant Signaling & Behavior, appeared the following year.
The full article is definitely worth a read: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/23/the-intelligent-plant

Of course, there is definitely a lot of pseudoscience and crackpottery in this area, but also a lot of legitimate research.
 
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  • #3
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As far as I know, simple animals like worms show no sign of having memories,
despite that they do have a rudimentary brain, which plants don't have.
 
  • #4
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That would imply that LTP only works in certain types of nerve cells? Do you know the link to the research that shows this? That is very interesting.
 
  • #5
jim mcnamara
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Let's get on track here. No one has proved this statement scientifically: Plants think in any way like animals. There are NO neurons. That limits things a lot. Way too much of this stuff comes from popular science magazine articles garbling the research output of good scientific work.

There are lots of superb articles on communications between individual plants and sometimes across species and even to some animals - look up allelopathy as one choice.

Example: when under attack by herbivorous insects, some plant species emit 'pheromone' mimic compounds that attract insect predators.

Mycorrhizal fungi transmit chemicals across species and individuals. Example: these transmitted simple molecules are posited to have effects on healthy trees near a dying tree, for example.

A single individual plant can have more than 10 different mycorrhizal fungal species in it's root tissues. Relatively few of these fungi have been identified other than by DNA analysis. To correctly place fungi taxonomically, often requires culturing the fungi. Plus. The hyphae of some of these beasties are multinucleate (coenocytic) and appear to anastomose with each other.

This means one hypha could have multiple DNA sources, since it would have lots of nuclei. Maybe some from other species. Higher plants anastomose roots and branches across species all the time. But they are not multinucleate, by and large. I do not know how reliable this observation is, just a few papers in agronomy journals. Or what impact this has on trying to analyze DNA from polyploid multinucleate fungi. This would make a great research topic -- If were 50 years younger, I'd go for it. @Ygggdrasil probably knows more.

I'm not going to look any of this stuff up. If interested please do the homework yourself. The topic of plants memorizing is really way out on the woo-woo charts for me.
 
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  • #6
Evo
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I am afraid that this thread has gone far enough, the OP needs to do more research, the members here are not here to do research for other members, but to guide members and answer questions members have with THEIR research.
 
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