Do Trees Shrink?

James Green

I graduated from Eastern Washington University 2 years ago and work in the pharmaceutical industry. I have an interest and expertise in biotechnology and biology as a whole, and intend to write heavily on these topics in future.

1475 Conifer Drive, Bellevue WA 98004
James Green

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    Trees always seem to be upright. But it is not entirely true since, at nightfall, they shrink. This has been demonstrated by a study by researchers at the Center for Ecological Research in Tihany, in Hungary. Experts scanned several trees in Finland and Austria, and found that they languished when daylight began to disappear.

    The branches and leaves of these plants fell into a kind of lethargy that caused the trees to shrink an average of ten centimeters at nightfall. It is not much if we take into account that everyone measured about five meters. But, it is enough that it is relatively easy to measure that variation in its size.

    And of course, at the dawn of the new day they recovered their usual size in just a few hours.

    But what causes this phenomenon? The causes are not clear yet, although everything seems to indicate that, at night, the chlorophyll function of the plant ceases, which would cause it to enter a state that we could call “rest.” “It is as if the trees went to sleep after a tiring day,” said András Zlinszky, one of the authors of the research.

    All measurements of this phenomenon were made under the same conditions of ambient humidity and in the absence of wind, to avoid that these factors could distort the result.

    Now, we have to do another experiment to discover if, besides sleeping, the trees also dream and with what.