By Erin Marissa Russell
What Plant Stress Is Like
You may be surprised to learn just how similar plant behavior in the face of stress can be to our own human backlash against stress, according to visual symptoms and other the reactions we are able to detect. Parts of the stress response in plants seem downright human, though unlike in humans, the fight or flight response is not an option for plants because whereas we can escape, they are quite literally rooted to the spot.
Just like our bodies release hormones when we endure stress, plants also also have a hormonal response to stressful conditions. However, hormonal reactions to stress in plants are specifically crafted to counterbalance the exact form of stress the plant is experiencing. For example, a plant going through drought responds by sending abscisic acid to its root system. The abscisic acid works to close little openings in the root system called stomata that are used during photosynthesis—water is lost through these passages, so closing them during a drought helps the plant retain its precious water stores.