I think that I shall never see a thing as sleepy as a tree

andras_zlinszkyInspired by popular interpretations of a new study (see below), we offer a revision to an old poem:

I think that I shall never see
A thing as sleepy as a tree.
A tree with drooping bits depressed,
All snoozy when it’s time to rest…

Andy Coglan writes, in New Scientist, about a recently published twig on a branch on the tree of knowledge:

Trees seen resting branches while ‘asleep’ for the first time

They don’t snore, but might creak during their slumbers. For the first time, trees have been shown to undergo physical changes at night that can be likened to sleep, or at least to day-night cycles that have been observed experimentally in smaller plants.

Branches of birch trees have now been seen drooping by as much as 10 centimetres at the tips towards the end of the night.

“It was a very clear effect, and applied to the whole tree,” says András Zlinszky [pictured here] of the Centre for Ecological Research in Tihany, Hungary. “No one has observed this effect before at the scale of whole trees, and I was surprised by the extent of the changes….

(Thanks to Dan Meyer and Lisa Oberzaucher and several other Ig Nobel Prize winners for bringing this to our attention.)