Plant Movements

  • Rama Sisodia
  • Satish C Bhatla


Terrestrial plants are sessile and are incapable of changing their location. Yet, plants can sense their environment and can respond to sensory information through visible movements to optimize their survival, growth, and reproduction. The earliest findings published in this field were from Charles Darwin in 1880 in his book entitled The Power of Movement in Plants that explored the phenomenon of phototropism. Plant movements can be defined as the changes in the spatial orientation or conformation of an organ or its parts. Plant movements include movements toward light, opening and closing of flowers, growth of developing roots in search of water and nutrients, etc. In fact, inflorescence, fruits, and shoots are all capable of moving by sensing changes in environment, thereby adjusting their position, function, and behavior accordingly. Plant movements are extremely slow and often undetectable. Classical examples of visible plant movements include the response of sensitive plants like “touch-me-not” (Mimosa pudica) and the carnivorous Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula). In addition to whole organ, the movement of single cells is also possible which includes, for example, the movement of guard cells, which regulates the stomatal pore size, as well as growth of the pollen tube through the style. Such movements are caused by motor cells, driven by changes in pressure from within the cells exerted against the cell walls. Pressure causes changes in the dimensions of individual cells or tissues which results in distinctive movements. Plant movements are classified as:


Chemotropism Epinasty Gravitropism Growth-mediated movements Hyponasty Parasitic plants Phototropism Seed propulsion Thermonasty Thigmonasty Turgor-mediated movements Twining plants 

Suggested Further Readings

  1. Darwin C (1898) The power of movements in plants. D. Appleton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Koller D (2011) The restless plant. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA/LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Trewavas A (2014) Plant behaviour and intelligence. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rama Sisodia
    • 1
  • Satish C Bhatla
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia

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