En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Leaf motion in still air in ON

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - June 25, 2012

From: Cambridge , ON
Region: Canada
Topic: General Botany
Title: Leaf motion in still air in ON
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

What causes a tree or plant to dance when the other plants around it are still and no wind???

ANSWER:

Seeing a plant or tree "do" that is one of the things that brings back a childhood "sense of wonder" and a reminder of the almost magical mysteries of nature, doesn't it?  Hearing the rustle of poplar leaves on a day when there seems to be no breeze whatsoever is one of my favourite examples.

Although the air seems still, it isn't actually.  There are many factors like differential heating and cooling and structures that cause the air currents to eddy and vary in speed in different locations that are in close proximity.  Once the air catches the plant it can set it into a state of motion that is similar to a standing wave which will linger after the gust of air has subsided.

Of course that is just one explanation and a dry, scientific one at that.  Personally, I like to savour the more magical side of nature (and summer) whenever I have the chance.

 

More General Botany Questions

What does spp. stand for in Paspalum spp? From Arlington, TX.
August 11, 2010 - What does the spp stand for when talking about Paspalum spp?
view the full question and answer

History of hybrid Hibiscus Davis Creek from Cary NC
August 22, 2010 - Re: Hibiscus Davis Creek. Can you tell me this hybrid's history? H. coccineus H. militaris perhaps?
view the full question and answer

Water-saving strategies of drought-tolerant plants
April 04, 2014 - Although "drought tolerant" plants are fairly well documented, it's clear that many different strategies are responsible, such as a huge root system (like Mesquite). I'm interested in learning the...
view the full question and answer

Does music affect sunflower growth from Pentwater MI
January 12, 2010 - Does music affect sunflower growth?
view the full question and answer

Seaweed seed dispensers in Long Island, NY
January 03, 2013 - Several months ago, we found what are probably seaweed seed dispensers. They are dark brown, hard, four sharp points,section where it would have connected to the main plant and an open hole where the...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center