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Observations placeholder

Bose, Sir Jagadis Chandra - Plants and perceptions - sensitivity



Type of Spiritual Experience


Dr Bose tested plants' sensitivity to various forms of stimulation - electrical, chemical etc to compare animal and plant reactions.  He found, for example that their reactions to various chemical agents is similar if not identical to an animal's.

A description of the experience

Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose – His Life and Speeches

That not a mimosa alone, but all plants are sensitive was demonstrated by some striking experiments.  A spiral tendril under electric shock was shown to writhe imitating the contortions of a tortured worm............

The most sensitive organ for perception of a stimulus was the human tongue.... the plant, when tested, was found to be ten times more sensitive than a human being........

...Dr Bose, instead of applying the stimulant or the anaesthetic in the liquid form to the outer stalk or stem, confined the Mimosa in a little chamber and subjected it to the influence of the vapour of the drug.  The fumes now penetrated and reached the nerves and the plant was made to record, by its own script, the variations, if any, produced by the drugs.  The plant, by its self made records, showed exultation with alcohol, depression with chloroform, rapid transmission of a shock with the application of heat, and an abolition of the propagated impulse with the application of a deadly poison like potassium cyanide.  This variation in the transmitted impulse, under physiological variations, showed that it was not a physical one............. Dr Bose thus showed that the nervous impulse in plant and man is exalted or inhibited under identical conditions.

The plant is made to imbibe soda water and the growth becomes suddenly exalted some ten times; but a puff of tobacco smoke instantly retards the rate.  To induce further retardation a depressing drug is next applied.  The growth gradually comes to a stop and the quiescent of the spot of light shows life in a state of suspense, the plant is now hovering in an unstable poise between life and death, a slight tilt one way, and life gets interlocked in the rigidity of death.  But the antidote is applied just in time, the torpor and suspense is over and life renews her activity once more with the fullest vigour...............

When the plant had a surfeit of drink, it became excessively lethargic and unresponsive.  By extracting fluid from the gorged plant, its motor activity was at once re-established.  Under alcohol its responsive script became ludicrously unsteady.  A scientific superstition existed regarding carbonic acid as being good for a plant.  But Professor Bose's experiments showed distinctly that the gas would suffocate the plant as readily as it did the animal.  Only in the presence of sunlight could the effect be modified by secondary reaction......

Pulsative plants were made to record their rhythmic throbbings.  It was shown that the pulse beats of the plants were affected by the action of various drugs, and diverse stimuli, in a manner similar to that of the animal heart.  Perhaps the most weird experience was to watch the death struggle of a plant under the action of poison.

The source of the experience

Bose, Sir Jagadish Chandra

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps