Plants Do Math

Grand-Reng JPG05Who knew that plants could perform calculations that many humans might struggle with. From Reuters:

Plants do complex arithmetic calculations to make sure they have enough food to get them through the night, new research published in journal eLife shows.

Scientists at Britain’s John Innes Centre said plants adjust their rate of starch consumption to prevent starvation during the night when they are unable to feed themselves with energy from the sun.

They can even compensate for an unexpected early night.

“This is the first concrete example in a fundamental biological process of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation,” mathematical modeler Martin Howard of John Innes Centre (JIC) said.

During the night, mechanisms inside the leaf measure the size of the starch store and estimate the length of time until dawn. Information about time comes from an internal clock, similar to the human body clock…

[continues at Reuters]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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14 Comments on "Plants Do Math"

  1. Interesting, but incredibly misleading title

    • Simon Valentine | Jun 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

      why is that? where would one go otherwise?

      plants lack … humanity, will, or any of the other lies humans put themselves through as if [something something]? legit question yo. no difference between me, you, generic human specimen 1, gen. Turing computer1, gen. weed 1, et cetera each … and mind blowingly (lol) … ALL doing math all together all at once 🙂 but as symbiont, such a comprehension of the self must yield that you are obviously trolling and know quite well the fact of the matter that is the matter, matter-of-factually. *donning the doffed sunglasses of cool* we are math. meta? attempted thievery. BAM! cyclops. the red fox jumped over the brown bear’s fishes. human can’t solve problem? human make up lie and story. HULK SMASH

    • Noah_Nine | Jun 25, 2013 at 4:42 am |

      at first i thought it said: “plants do meth…” and i thought: “those are some tough plants…”

  2. Simon Valentine | Jun 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm |

    no longer to be known as plants or flowers, these weeds shall be extinguished, for they have been found to have autism!


  3. If our daily lives depended on calculations, we too would master mathematics.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Jun 24, 2013 at 8:29 pm |

    amazingly, plants turn themselves to get max sunlight
    turn their leaves upward when anticipating rain
    communicate with each other using chemicals through a mycelium internet
    and run trading companies that trade sugar & starch for minerals
    with microorganisms that live in the non-chemied soil
    they also return an excess to the soil upon death

  5. The Well Dressed Man | Jun 24, 2013 at 10:52 pm |

    Hmmm, don’t mammals like us store energy for later too? Is there not some similar resource management going on at the metabolic level?

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