The full moon is a powerful symbol. It speaks to us of fertility, cycles, pregnancy, and wildness. The moon itself has been shown to influence animal behavior, particularly in the seas. But what of plants, who lack a central nervous system? Can they too be influenced by the pull of the moon?

Such texts as ‘The Farmer’s Almanac’ suggest planting should be done during certain phases of the moon. It’s such a beautiful metaphor of working with and connecting to nature I want such influences to exist. So far science has been unable to prove such an influence though several possible, albeit questionable, mechanisms have been proposed for such and influence. Someone prove it for us.

Plants are amazingly sensitive to light such that full moon intensities are easily enough to disturb their time measurement via photoperiodic cycles. This could be quite catastrophic for plants that then flower at inappropriate times. Thankfully, evolution has come the rescue. Plants have adapted night time leaf movements that reduce the moonlight striking their upper leaf surface by as much as 20 times, well below the level that might confuse them.

What about the gravitational pull of the moon? It effects tides, can it’s influence be felt on as small a scale as a single tree? Yes, recent evidence seems to confirm this. Dr. Peter Barlow and others looked at measurements of tree diameter in six species and found that they were correlated with tidal variation. As the gravitational pull of the moon was greater, the trees became minutely but significantly fatter!

Fattening trees and curling leaves. Our revolving sister rock invisibly reaches out to the world of plants. Who knows what else is left to be discovered.