Baby Groot wears a fake human nose while holding a controller as big as his body.

As a Plant Nerd, I Take Issue With This ‘I Am Groot’ Detail

The second season of “I am Groot” has dropped, giving viewers five more teensy glances into what baby Groot gets up to when the other Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t looking. In episode 2, “Groot Noses Around,” Groot goes looking for a battery when his video game controller runs out of juice. While rummaging through a bucket of electronics, he finds a bionic nose.

Recommended Videos

Groot slaps the schnoz on his face and finds that he can smell things now! How cool! He goes around smelling stuff until he comes back to the couch where he was playing video games. It’s filthy with rotten food and god knows what else, and the smell hits him. Whomp whomp.

First off, I wish I could deactivate my sense of smell sometimes. Secondly, does this mean that Groot canonically can’t smell anything? In all those Guardians of the Galaxy movies, was he just going around with no sense of smell the whole time? He couldn’t even smell that little flower that he grew from his own arm? Huh.

As a Marvel fan, I found it fun to ponder that revelation. As a botany nerd, though? I was in some thorny emotional territory.

Plants actually have great senses of smell

Did you know real trees communicate through chemical signals? It’s true! For example, when a giraffe starts to eat acacia leaves, that acacia tree will emit ethylene gas, which warns other nearby acacias that there’s a dreaded herbivore on the loose. Once the ethylene hits them, the other trees will release bitter tannins into their leaves, making them unpalatable to the giraffes.

Are these chemical signals the same as smelling? Trees may not have the same subjective experience of airborne chemicals that we do, but similar behavior has been observed in plants ranging from willow trees to lima beans. At Penn State, Dr. Consuelo De Moraes conducted an experiment with a parasitic plant called a dodder vine, which feeds on tomato plants. No matter how thoroughly she concealed the tomato plant, the dodder leaned in its direction, hoping to feed. After several iterations of the experiment, including a synthetic tomato smell on cotton swabs, De Moraes concluded that the dodder could functionally smell the tomato.

Therefore, Groot shouldn’t have needed a bionic nose to smell!

Ha HA! See what I did there? I used a clickbaity headline to trick you into learning science! I don’t actually care whether Groot has a sense of smell or not. He’s a made-up alien from a comic book movie. I just wanted to geek out about plants, and I conned you into being an accessory to it. Now you know a cool plant fact, and you can’t un-know it!

Now go outside and appreciate how cool plants are.

(featured image: Disney+)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article How Many Seasons Of Bridgerton Will There Be?
The Bridgerton extended family.
Read Article Daphne Bridgerton Got Her Happy Ending. So Where Is She Now?
Simon and Daphne at the ball in Season 1 of Bridgerton
Read Article Here’s How Penelope’s Father’s Fate Matches Up With the ‘Bridgerton’ Books
The Featherington family drinks champagne in Bridgerton
Read Article If You Want to Get In on ‘Bridgerton,’ You’ve Only Got One Option
Key art for Bridgerton season 3 on Netflix, with Colin Bridgerton, Peneope Featherington, Queen Charlotte, Anthony and Kate Bridgerton, and more all featured. Colin and Penelope stand in front of a mirror.
Read Article Mr. Worldwide Himself Weighs in on That ‘Bridgerton’ Cover
Colin and Penelope gaze into each other's eyes
Related Content
Read Article How Many Seasons Of Bridgerton Will There Be?
The Bridgerton extended family.
Read Article Daphne Bridgerton Got Her Happy Ending. So Where Is She Now?
Simon and Daphne at the ball in Season 1 of Bridgerton
Read Article Here’s How Penelope’s Father’s Fate Matches Up With the ‘Bridgerton’ Books
The Featherington family drinks champagne in Bridgerton
Read Article If You Want to Get In on ‘Bridgerton,’ You’ve Only Got One Option
Key art for Bridgerton season 3 on Netflix, with Colin Bridgerton, Peneope Featherington, Queen Charlotte, Anthony and Kate Bridgerton, and more all featured. Colin and Penelope stand in front of a mirror.
Read Article Mr. Worldwide Himself Weighs in on That ‘Bridgerton’ Cover
Colin and Penelope gaze into each other's eyes
Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>