Plants represent almost 99.9% of the biomass of our planet. This means that virtually every environment that can be colonized by life has been explored and populated by plants. To achieve such amazing results while being unable to move from the site of seed germination, plants have evolved an arsenal of solutions that make them suitable for life in the most demanding and extreme conditions. In addition, it is well established that plants are able to show considerable plasticity in their morphology and physiology in response to variability within their environment and to survive extremely diverse environmental conditions and stresses (Fujita et al (2006)). Thus the mechanical properties of plants, the morphology of their structures and their characteristic movements represent a goldmine of solutions that, with appropriate investigation, could be used to obtain new design rules for advanced bioinspired systems and materials in countless applications. Meanwhile, advances in technology, partly related to the adoption of such bio-inspired approaches in design, are opening new opportunities for the application of bioinspired artefacts in biological research.
Smart solutions from the plant kingdom
Barbara Mazzolai and Stefano Mancuso 2013 Bioinspir. Biomim. 8 020301 http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-3182/8/2/020301