Plants feel pain, say scientists.
Every stroke of those pruning shears could have the average shrub writhing in agony.
Researchers in Bonn, Germany, found plants give off a gas when under ‘attack’.
Super-sensitive microphones picked up a ‘bubbling’ sound from a healthy plant. But this rose to a piercing screech when it was under threat. Even a tiny insect bite could have an effect.
‘The more a plant is subjected to stress, the louder the signal,’ said Dr Frank K¸hnemann.
Plants do not actually scream in pain. But different sounds are heard when the gas they emit, ethylene, is bombarded with lasers.
The research could help to work out which pieces of fruit and vegetables are likely to stay fresh longer, as a cucumber which is starting to go off produces a squealing sound. It could then be separated from the fresher ones.
Fruit exporters are already showing interest in the research. Wolfgang Praetorius, of Cologne- based Fruchthansa, said: ‘Individual pieces of fruit could be tested after being harvested. We’d know which ones to ship together.’
D r K ¸ h n e m a n n believes plants give off ethylene to warn others of an ‘attack’. He said: ‘Perhaps plants and trees are ‘talking to each other.’