Do Plants Feel Pain?

. . .  When a tree is pruned, does it suffer?

This was the question posted in the NY Times Science Q&A on Dec. 23.

My quick answer: no . . . plants don’t have nerves or a central nervous system associated with what we think of as “pain”.

As Amy Litt pointed out in the NY Times article, however, plants do mount a response to injury (e.g. pruning of a limb), insect attack or pathogen infection.  This is an important and active area of research that’s important to plant pathologists in the development stress-tolerant, disease and pest-resistant crops.

> Read the full Q&A

Related video > Can Plants Think?

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