University of Florida

How Plants Move

Their roots may keep them well-grounded, but plants can move in creative ways.

As a kid you may have turned a plant seedling on its side and then marveled as the stem grew vertically again. This process is known as negative gravitropism.

Another example of plant movement is when vines lengthen the cells on just one side of their stems, allowing the stems to twist and twine around supports.

The leaves and buds of young sunflowers undergo a wilting and swelling cycle that lets them track the sun, a process known as heliotropism.

And let’s not forget how quickly some plants can move, like when a venus flytrap snaps closed on an unsuspecting fly.

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