Telegraph plant | The world’s fastest plants

Plants aren’t usually thought of as very fast moving – they stay in one place, almost completely still, occasionally drooping over if you forget to water them. In some cases, however, plants can be amazingly quick; grabbing hold of insects, shooting out their seeds or spinning their leaves round to get a suntan.

And the last in our list of the world’s fastest plants is…

Telegraph plant | Can be found across Asia

Telegraph plant

While not as lightning-fast as some of the other plants in this series, the telegraph plant (also known as the semaphore plant) is still much quicker than your average shrub. The plant’s leaves are on hinges, and it moves them around throughout the day to catch as much sunlight as possible.

It’s normal for plants to move towards the light, but it’s not normal for them to do it so quickly that you can see it happening. The telegraph’s leaves can all move but, so that it doesn’t waste energy, each big leaf has a couple of little leaves nearby that spin round and let it know where the strongest sunlight can be found. It’s these little leaves that are the speedy part – they take just a few minutes to rotate and can easily be seen moving. This may not sound very impressive, but the telegraph – something with no recognisable brain – is collecting information about its surroundings and using that information to decide where to move its leaves. I think that’s pretty clever. For a plant.

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The world’s fastest plants

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About Nick Heady

Nick Heady

My favourite holiday souvenir is a shower cap I brought home from the Luxor casino in Las Vegas. I’ve never used it, though. I’m saving it for a special occasion.

At the Luxor, all the casino games are inside a pyramid. The hotel rooms are also inside a pyramid. And their shower caps come in little pyramid-shaped boxes. It’s fantastic.

Once you’ve been to Vegas, there’s no need to go to Egypt. The Luxor’s pyramid has a giant lamp on top and, from the hotel windows, you can see a medieval castle – the same can’t be said for Egypt’s pyramids. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a model of the Sphinx that’s bigger than the one in Giza. It’s made of plastic, sure, but at least its nose is still intact.

Nick works in our marketing team

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