Earlier this month, Jason Freeman and his wife were out cycling in South Carolina when they came across this bizarre dancing plant:
Even though there doesn’t seem to be any wind, the plant sways from side to side like a metronome. But don’t worry – this isn’t the first indication that the plants are preparing to rise up and overthrow us in a bloody coup.
According to one helpful commenter, the plant is actually swaying because of a very weak wind which isn’t noticeable to humans. The plant’s structure means that it amplifies the very slight movements caused by these winds, causing it to sway violently from side to side.
This phenomenon is described in a 2001 paper titled “Oscillation frequencies of tapered plant stems”, but only read it if you have a spare few hours and a scientific calculator.

Diagram explaining the phenomenon
Photo credits: Hanns-Christof Spatz and Olga Speck
Share This