Molecular memory in plants

Plants utilize a set of precise sensory systems to screen the significant factors, for improving the growth, improvement, metabolism, morphogenesis, and behavior in their environment. Plants acquire remarkable capabilities to utilize chemical occurrences to defend themselves against predators and notify the neighboring plants of the danger.

Do plants have a memory?

Plants do not have a brain or nervous system as humans do but acquire a “molecular” memory. Molecular memory is the elaborate mechanisms enabling plants to respond to environmental changes. The responses of the plant are regulated at a molecular level by alternations in gene expression. All memory functions have a molecular basis, like in signal reception and transduction, and in the storage of information.

In what way, the memory works?

Experiences on certain environmental events can be stored in the form of chemical molecules. The transformation in the chemical nature of a cell includes the change in protein content, the supplementation of the primary as well as secondary metabolic products, or the medication of enzyme activity in the plant cell. The plant immune memory shapes immunological memory similar to competent immunity as in mammals. All of these processes can be used to store experiences in organisms without a nervous system.

Role of epigenetic mechanism

Plants are unable to move freely, so try to get control of environmental stresses by timing their physiological processes. For this reason, epigenetics comes to play. The role of epigenetic regulation responses to environmental stimuli, particularly in response to stresses. Hence, plants have advanced epigenetic machinery that controls their flowering scheduling.


Vernalizationassistancesthe plants regulate the correct time to bloom flowers. Researchers have established that some plants can recall the experiences they had of drought and dehydration, cold and heat, excess light, acidic soil, exposure to short-wave radiation, and simulation of insects eating their leaves. If they face with similar situations again, the plants adapt themselves accordingly. They may keep extra water, become more sensitive to light, or develop their acceptance to salt or cold. Sometimes, these memories are even handed over to the next generation by spreading information in form of chemicals or electric charges through the air or from their roots.

“Root-brain” hypothesis

The knowledge that plants display intricate and flexible behavior that involves intellectual procedures is not firsthand. Actually, scientist Charles Darwin had recognized the intellectual sensitivity of plants when he suggested the “root-brain” hypothesis that the tip of plant roots acts like the brain of some. The recent studies verify the earlier Darwinian insights and demonstrate that most of the behavior of plants are adaptive, thus confirming their existence.

Evidently, plants do not have a nervous system like animals; therefore, the ways of response to all the environmental changes are unlike from other animals. However, plants are confronted with similar types of tasks as per animals and have progressed methods to understand the situation in order to resolve it.