TickleMe Plants move when they are tickled. When tickled, their leaflets fold together quickly and the stalk on which these leaflets are located often droop down. The closing of leaflets and lowering of the stalks can occur like a wave, with one stalk drooping down onto another, causing the entire TickleMe Plant to fold down. The TickleMe Plant moves in response to being tickled because of the loss of turgor pressure in the leaflets. Turgor pressure is the force of the water and plant cell contents against the wall of cell in the plant.. This turgor pressure gives the plant the ability to stand up straight without wilting. When a leaf is tickled, chemicals in the plant cause water to move out of some of the plant’s cells. When water moves out of some of the cells, this reduces the turgor pressure in the cells and causes the leaflets and stalks to wilt. Some scientists think the TickleMe Plant’s movements may be a way that the plant protects itself from animals that attempt to eat it. When the TickleMe Plant moves, this may scare the animals, causing the animals to move on to a less active plant. No one knows for sure why the TickleMe Plant moves. Share your own ideas, with others as to why the TickleMe Plant moves.
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