Introduction to Plant Sensory Systems and Responses

Identify common sensory systems and responses in plants

Animals can respond to environmental factors by moving to a new location. Plants, however, are rooted in place and must respond to the surrounding environmental factors. Plants have sophisticated systems to detect and respond to light, gravity, temperature, and physical touch. Receptors sense environmental factors and relay the information to effector systems—often through intermediate chemical messengers—to bring about plant responses.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Describe how red and blue light affect plant growth and metabolic activities
  • Discuss gravitropism
  • Describe thigmotropism, thigmonastism, and thigmogenesis
  • Explain how plants defend themselves from predators and respond to wounds

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Plant Responses to Light
  • Plant Responses to Gravity
  • Plant Responses to Wind and Touch
  • Defense Responses against Herbivores and Pathogens
  • Self Check: Plant Sensory Systems and Responses


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