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Drooping trees may actually be sleeping

Much like humans curling up to go to sleep at night, trees may relax their limbs at night to rest, The Washington Post reports. Although scientists have known that tree leaves and other plants follow a circadian rhythm, this is the first evidence that an entire tree could be resting at night like other organisms. Using lasers, researchers scanned tree canopies in Finland and Austria over the course of a night to measure any movement. They observed tree crowns and branches drooping by as much as 4 inches during the night before rebounding to their original heights by the next morning, according to a paper in Frontiers in Plant Science. Researchers have isolated two likely causes for the nocturnal drooping—either a loss of internal water pressure because of the lack of photosynthesis during the night, or an actual resting state by trees to save energy from holding up their limbs.


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