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Do Plants Have Memories?


Botanists from Nottingham and Birmingham Universities discovered a process that allows flower-bearing plants to feel and remember any changes in their environment. Their research shows a potential to support the development of new varieties of plants (vegetables and cereals) that are adaptable to various environmental conditions.

Plants’ memories allow enable them to base their development as a response to the changing seasons or to any form of stress. Many plants recall how long winter lasts. This makes them flower only when spring and summer come.

PRC2, the group of proteins that makes this possible. During the cold season, these proteins transform into a complex that turns on the plant’s flowering mode when the warm season begins. VRN2 is part of the said complex. This protein is highly unstable. It breaks down when there is abundant oxygen. When oxygen supply decreases during flooding, VRN2 stabilizes and encourages survival. This protein also increases during the cold season, allowing the PRC2 complex to stimulate flowering when the temperatures rise.

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