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How Plants Tell Time

Turns out living animals aren’t the only ones with internal clocks. Plants also have them and they’re driven by sugar! Trace explains how they work.

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Plants Discovered To Have Ability to Tell Time: ‘Sugars In Plants Are Key To Timekeeping’

“Researchers have recently discovered plants’ ability to tell time.
According to research published in the journal Nature, plants use sugars to tell the time of day. Like animals, plants have a circadian clock that provides a competitive advantage in the environment, influenced by Earth’s rotation.”

Photosynthetic entrainment of the Arabidopsis thaliana circadian clock

“Circadian clocks provide a competitive advantage in an environment that is heavily influenced by the rotation of the Earth, by driving daily rhythms in behaviour, physiology and metabolism in bacteria, fungi, plants and animals.”

How plants tell time

“Gardeners often marvel at how plants of the same species tend to flower, fruit and go to seed with remarkable synchronicity, as if on cue.”

Plants Use Sugars to Tell the Time of Day

“Plants, like animals, have a 24 hour ‘body-clock’ known as the circadian rhythm. This biological timer gives plants an innate ability to measure time, even when there is no light — they don’t simply respond to sunrise, for example, they know it is coming and adjust their biology accordingly.”

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