A Very Odd Plant Story

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Schuyler, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    I am experiencing something very puzzling. Please don't laugh at my very first question here. I have come here because of what I am experiencing.

    On Jan. 29, 2010, my husband and I were moving out-of-state. We were caught in a horrible snowstorm and had to stop unexpectedly overnight at a hotel. The temperatures were absolutely frigid. Our arms were full of everything when checking in and forgot we left our 20 year old plant in the car. When we went out to the car in the morning, the entire plant had died overnight except for just (2) surviving leaves. We weren't sure they would survive, but they did.

    It is now July 3. During the last several months, to my surprise and delight, seven new leaves grew up bright and healthy. About a month ago, one of the two "original" leaves began to die. I have no idea why. The stem began to turn a dark brown from the bottom and it has taken over a month for this darkness to ascend to the actual leaf itself. The stem is now paper thin. It is now almost completely dead.

    Here is the very strange happening. The other "original" leaf, which sits across the pot away from the dying "original" leaf, has turned so that it is actually facing the dying leaf. Over the last month it has been bending and turning and stretching itself over across the pot in what looks like an attempt to reach that dying leaf, as if to comfort it or as in mourning. This living "original" leaf has had to purposely cross in front of several of the new leaves that have grown in order to reach the dying leaf. It is now bent down and almost in touch with the dying leaf, short of touching it now by about 1/4 of an inch. This living leaf shows no signs of sickness. The stem is green and decent sized around and the leaf is green. It is simply crossing the entire pot to get to the dying leaf. I have taken multiple pictures of this, but don't know how to post them to actually see what has been happening. I have been watching this leaf do this now, for over a month. I am completely intrigued by what is happening, but have no idea how to explain it. It literally looks like this leaf has been making its way over there to comfort this dying leaf or is experiencing mourning. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this or can someone who is studied in horticulture give a possible explanation for this? I have actually felt sadness for the one "original" living leaf. Anybody got any answers? I'd appreciate it!
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    How to attach images.

    I havn't the foggiest what's going on here, but I have seen similar behaviour with Aroids. Maybe someone else will have an explanation for it.
     
  3. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    Thanks for your reply. I really do hope someone can shed some light on this. I've never thought of plants as having any type of awareness, since they have no brain or intelligence. I'm glad to know that someone else has at least seen something like this behavior before.
     
  4. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    I have read more than one post on this forum having to do with this very issue---do plants have an intelligence? An awareness? Folks have related stories of their own plants, growing in ways that seem to have no relation to light, moisture, temperature, bugs. Why? Naturally, being human, we assign a human feeling or emotion to what we observe. Don't think that there is any way we will ever know for certain...but I do think that plants clearly have an awareness of their environment, as they assuredly do respond to stimuli. All I know for sure is that I sure don't know everything!

    Hope you can post your photos, Schuyler. Am intrigued by your story, and would like to have an ID on your plant.
    Welcome to the Forum, and ask away!
     
  5. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    I would like to be able to post pictures I've taken, but I don't know how to do that, yet. When my husband is available, he may be able to show me. He's usually very good at figuring out that kind of stuff. Actually, can you post pictures in this forum? I noticed that there is a place for attachments. Perhaps I can load the pictures into my computer and then post them as attachments. I'll see what I can do. I've never had my heart feel like it's breaking for a leaf before. I've never seen anything like this.

    Thanks for responding to me.
     
  6. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    You most certainly can: click on the first sentence of lorax's post, "How to attach images". Doing so will give you info on how to perform this maneuver. Have your spouse read it, too.

    Believe me, I understand! I always get my daughter to post photos for me. Problem is, she is always off at work or some other frivolous activity. Ha! She is the reason I HAVE an avatar. I took the photo but she posted it, in about 30 seconds. Would take me 6 months.

    Meanwhile, you could click on 'Search' (3rd from right in green heading at top of page) and type in 'Plant intelligence'. Some of the posts I remember are there. All interesting stuff. Just kinda mill around the forum---much to ponder and explore!
     
  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Is the living leaf normally facing towards the light or away from it? Conversely, which side is the dead leaf on? Without a photo I have no idea what is happening but leaves naturally bend to the light.

    Steve
     
  8. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    I had taken the photos of the leaves with my phone. The new phone I got has a memory card that won't fit into my computer; it's too small. My husband says he has to get an adapter for it. I was hoping to download them tonight, but that won't be able to happen. I will get them on here as soon as I can. Thanks everybody!
     
  9. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    Steve, I'm so new at this I did something wrong. I've tried replying to you twice with answers to your question concerning the location of the light source. Did you get either of those answers. They are not showing up here. I have no idea where those answers went. If you didn't get my answer let me know and I'll try to send the answer again. Thanks.
     
  10. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I don't see your response either but just try again. I'd love to know!

    Steve
     
  11. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    When I look at the plant, my perspective is from the back of the plant. The plant sits against a wall and facing straight ahead of it are double glass doors where the sunlight comes in. My perspective is looking from behind the plant towards those glass doors when I explain this. Obviously, when you see the pictures, you will be seeing the plant from the front, so the leaf will be moving to the right in the pictures.

    There are seven healthy, bright leaves standing straight and tall. There is (1) of the two "original" leaves which is dying, actually lying on the edge of the pot. There is the other "original" leaf that is alive and well. To be heading toward the sunlight, the leaves would have to be going straight ahead in the pot--straight forward. This living "original" leaf has actually taken what would be like a sharp left turn and has crossed in front of the other leaves, aiming directly toward the leaf that is dying. It is nearly touching that dying leaf now with the point or tip of its leaf. It looks to only have about 1/4 of an inch to go before it touches the dying leaf. If this leaf were wanting to head toward the sunlight from the glass doors, it would have proceeded straight forward, but it has taken an obvious sharp left turn. Even in taking a left turn, it could have directed itself anywhere at all in this pot. It is purposely aimed at the dying leaf and it is almost there, almost touching it. It is remarkable to me. When you see the pictures, you will see this leaf purposely crossing in front of the stems of the other leaves to get to this dying leaf. The thing is, if there really is some kind of awareness in plant-life that we just don't understand, then this is a really sad scene playing out here.

    I'm looking forward to getting whatever adapter I need to be able to get the pictures on my computer to show you. Hopefully that will be within a few days since this is the holiday weekend. By the way............Happy 4th!
     
  12. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Not sure what is happening from the description, but some vining plants initially grow toward darkness to find the trunks of trees. When they make contact, they start to grow toward light and climb the tree. Perhaps the plant returned to this initial growth pattern, seeking out darkness in an effort to find a trunk to climb.
     
  13. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Ecellent Eric. It is called scotropic growth but normally involves young juvenile vines.

    Steve
     
  14. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I have 15 pictures, but it looks like I am limited to three. I'm going to select three, but I wish I could show you all the pictures because I have taken them from all kinds of angles. I'll do my best in the choosing.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    Please click on the images so you can see more of the detail of how the one leaf has purposely passed in front of the other seven leaves which you can see are standing perfectly tall. The plant is not a vine plant. You can see how the one leaf has seemingly purposely navigated itself toward reaching the other leaf. I look forward to your comments. I looked at the dying leaf today. The leaf itself is half gone now. The bottom part is still green. Whatever is happening is making its way to the end of the leaf slowly. So, it is still just a little alive. In a few days, I'm sure it will be completely dead. I wonder what the living leaf will do once the dying leaf is completely dead. Will it stand back up, I wonder?
     
  16. treesrgood

    treesrgood Member

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    Schuyler this is quite an interesting story. I have heard several similar stories about plant intelligence and I actually tend to believe them. Let us know what happens with the leaves.
     
  17. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Schuyler, just based on personal experience with a large number of rain forest plants growing in our tropical atrium I don't see anything unusual about the photo. It certainly "appears" the leaf is growing in the direction of the leaf that is almost dead but both are normal growth in my experience.

    Steve
     
  18. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    Thanks for your comments. I guess the only thing that continues to be a query to me is that the leaf that has been heading over to the dying leaf was standing straight and tall like all the other leaves BEFORE the other leaf started dying. It had been standing straight and tall like the others since February of this year until a little over a month ago when the other leaf began to die. That is precisely when it began to turn left and move in that direction. Otherwise it never moved. The "course of events" is what makes it something unusual to me.
     
  19. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    It is certainly interesting to see. I wish you were close enough so we could take a stroll through our atrium. We see leaves all the time that are normally erect that begin to become pendent (hang down). This is all part of Mother Nature's growth known as ontogeny and natural variation. If you prefer not to read the text just take a look at the photos. People are often amazed to see what variation can do.

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Natural variation within aroid and plant species.html

    Steve
     
  20. Schuyler

    Schuyler Member

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    Thanks, Steve, for sharing your thoughts and the link. I did go through the link and read portions to the bottom. I'm not a plant professional AT ALL. I am assuming the plant is some type of philodendron. It doesn't appear to be a vine-plant because each stem has grown up very individualistically, separated by space from each other and do not have any offshoots growing from individual stems...never have.

    This plant was a gift to me 20 years ago by my Mom when I wound up in the hospital. I lost my Mom in 2002 to cancer and though the plant is sparse and small it's special to me because my Mom and I were very close. It has made it through two instances that should have killed it completely, but has survived them both.

    Well, as your explanation goes, this is something not odd at all. Now, I promise I will come back with another question, IF, after this dying leaf is completely gone, this living leaf stands back up. If that happens............do, do, do, do.......do, do, do, do........
    do, do, do, do. (Ha, ha).
     
  21. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    If you can post a good photo of both the top and bottom of the leaf there is a chance we can figure out the species. Some plants are hybrids and in that case coming to a good conclusion can be difficult.

    I know how precious some plants can become!

    Steve
     
  22. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks for the photos, Schuyler.
    Your plant looks much healthier than I had anticipated!
    Plus: you have had the good fortune to encounter Steve. Follow his wise advice, and all will be well.
     

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