|An example form The Telegraph of research into plant hearing|
In retrospect perhaps, these musical experiments were doomed from the start. What relevance would human music, whether baroque or bebop, be to a plant? When studying plant vision we don’t show a plant an eye chart and ask it to read the bottom line, and in studying plant olfaction, we don’t ask it to differentiate between Chanel #5 and Old Spice. Rather we study the sense in an ecological and evolutionary relevant setting.
A very recent paper from the laboratory of Stefano Mancuso in Italy attempts to apply rigorous standards to determine what exactly plants hear and how this affects plant development. Their preliminary results show that not only do corn roots apparently grow towards specific frequencies of vibrations, but roots themselves may also be emitting sound waves! Hopefully, studies like these will move us away from the ridiculous question of what music plants prefer.
If this line of research pans out, I'll have to rewrite Chapter 4 of WHAT A PLANT KNOWS (which by the way goes on sale today)!