Are there any plants that are at least able to produce some sort of sound? Actively, I mean - depleting energy reserves to produce an audible output, preferably with no experimental amplification. Ultra- or infrasound is also ok.

Edit: I guess a different way of asking this is, "Are there any plant parts whose function is to produce sound?"

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    $\begingroup$ I have heard anecdotally that you can hear the corn fields growing (at the peak time of growth). I am sure some of this is wind blowing but also the new growth rustling the drier outside leaves in thousands and thousands of plants. Bamboo I have heard the same thing about. $\endgroup$
    – jbord39
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ There are several plants, which, as a way of seed spreading, "explode", which will make an audible sound. Plants that do this are for example: lupine. $\endgroup$
    – Ebbinghaus
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ These are good points, but the sound here is a byproduct - the plant "doesn't care" whether or not it is produced. I've edited to maybe make the question clearer. $\endgroup$
    – Zubo
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ Do you mean, 'intentionally' produce sound? Intentional would be only for communication, right? $\endgroup$
    – Polisetty
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Polisetty well, not necessarily - perhaps as a warning, or attracting something, or to generate vibrations for some other reason. Communication would entail a) also a listening apparatus and, more importantly, b) some way of actually interpreting the sound - some sort of neural system. $\endgroup$
    – Zubo
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


Plants make noise all the time as they transport water but that is believed to be an unintentional by-effect. As to the possibility of plants intentionally making noise, my intuitive answer was no but I might well be wrong, there is actually increasing evidence that plants might produce vibrations for communication.

Two examples: Gagliano (2012) discovered that young maize roots subjected to a 220 Hz sound (check out the figure, not sure if I'm allowed to copy it here) grow towards the sound source and additionally emit periodic bursts of sound themselves for as of yet unclear reasons. Gagliano, Renton, et al. (2012) demonstrated that chili plant seedlings grow faster in the presence of an adult fennel plant even though this adult plant was isolated in a such a way that it could not communicate via any known mechanism (chemical, light) with the seedlings, indicating influence through an unknown mechanism. The authors consider both magnetism and sound as possible unknown communication methods.

I don't think any of these sounds would be audible for humans though.

Acoustic emission analysis and experiments with physical model systems
reveal a peculiar nature of the xylem tension. 
Laschimke, R., Burger, M., & Vallen, H. (2006).
Journal of plant physiology, 163(10), 996-1007.

Towards understanding plant bioacoustics
Gagliano, Monica et al.
Trends in Plant Science , Volume 17 , Issue 6 , 323 - 325

Out of Sight but Not out of Mind: Alternative Means of Communication in Plants.
Gagliano M, Renton M, Duvdevani N, Timmins M, Mancuso S (2012) 
PLoS ONE 7(5): e37382. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037382

This is a more anecdotal answer, and it may not be what you are looking for, but I had a couple of water-hungry leafy plants in the past (Cannabis spec) that would look something like this -

Source: Sensi Seeds

...Note that mine were a lot bigger. After watering them and leaving them in the sun (enhances re-hydration by promoting water flow through evaporation of water through the leaves) you could literally see the leaves and stem erecting themselves again by the re-hydration process. If I remember correctly, some of those leaves would make audible sounds when they became dis-entangled from underlying leaves (popping sounds). They would look something like this after watering them.

rise and shine source: AllBud

Note that these audible effects likely only happen in leafy, swift-growing (rapid metabolizing) plants like Cannabis.


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