A story of a plant that doesn’t want to sing

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Salvatore “Camaleonte” Sanfilippo told us a story. “Generally a trained plant sounds practically all the time, with various oscillations during the night and the day, as a sign of their vital activity, but there are circumstances that may disturb the plant so much that the

plant or tree may stop making music altogether. One day I had to give a presentation on the plants to a group of English secondary school students accompanied by their teachers. I had

got the instrumentation ready in a nice greenhouse, and my little plant was

already ‘trilling away’ as usual. At a certain point the boys and girls came trooping in with an attitude of absolute lack of interest in their surroundings. A few moments later the plants fell silent. I pretended that nothing had happened, and began telling them what the project was about. In the meantime I moved the sensors of the device to another plant, hoping it would react, but to no avail. Finally, I had to say to the students and the teachers that the experiment had failed. The young people began filing out, and when the last one was out of the room, one of the plants resumed ‘singing’. I was greatly surprised, as was a teacher who had stayed behind, who said, ‘I’d say the experiment has been a great success. The kids exuded such boredom and disinterest they must have affected the plants negatively.’ I believe that teacher was right.”

(from “Music of the Plants” book)

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