How can plants be unicellular

To be immortal - is it possible?

Vegetative reproduction in plants

In vegetative reproduction, an existing cell simply divides into two new cells. These are therefore identical to one another, so-called clones of one another. This type of propagation occurs e.g. B. in the case of single cells or plants. In plants, not only cells can multiply in this way, but complete small plants, so-called offshoots, arise. These offshoots sometimes separate from the mother plant, but can also remain attached to it. When this happens, they form a large network of genetically identical plants. Thus, they represent a large individual and could theoretically continue to live indefinitely, since new offshoots are constantly being added when old ones die off. The oldest known plant in the world is an American trembling aspen, the roots of which are estimated to be 80,000 years old.


Prokaryotes, to which z. B. the bacteria belong, are living things that consist of a single cell without a nucleus. If a prokaryote divides into two cells, the two resulting cells are clones of each other. In living beings that reproduce in this way, there must be no signs of aging, as these would otherwise be passed on directly during cell division. With each cycle of reproduction, the cells would get older, until at some point all cells in the population would be too old to survive. The population would become extinct. By dividing and the resulting identical cells, such a single-celled individual can theoretically continue to live indefinitely. However, it is not yet clear whether such cases should be considered immortal or not.

The examples of immortality described here are very controversial among researchers. It is often not easy to clearly define an individual. Do the mother plant and its offshoots count as one - and thus immortal - individual or is each individual strain a single individual? What about prokaryotes that divide into two exactly the same cells when they multiply? Which cell is the "original" and which is the "newly created"? Such questions are not easy to answer.

Are you really immortal now?

We need to be clear that these survival and reproduction strategies do not mean that such organisms never die. In theory, they are immortal in that they do not age and thus do not die of signs of old age, but they can be doomed to die through other influences. Plants can e.g. B. die due to poor environmental conditions or fungal attack. The same is possible for single-cell organisms: if the conditions in which they live become unbearable, they too die.

In conclusion, after these considerations it becomes evident that some organisms seem to escape aging, but this does not mean that such organisms are invulnerable and never die. How exactly immortality should be defined is still unclear. In an ideal world, some organisms could live indefinitely, but in the real world they too are exposed to the struggle for survival.