Is Wood Alive? (It Is Not As Simple As You May Think!)

We all know that plants are living organisms. A living organism is one that fulfills all the characteristics of life. Plants fulfill all these features of life and are hence called living organisms.

But what happens when we cut the tree? Is the wood we get still alive? Comparing it with humans can give us a quick answer. If we cut humans, they will no longer be alive. However, in case of plants, the situation is a bit complex. Even while they are not cut, 99% of plants cells are dead but yet we call plants alive.

Cut wood is dead. 1% of plant cells that are living die when the wood is separated from a plant. This wood is no longer able to sustain itself as it cannot receive nutrients from the soil.

Is Wood Alive

Characteristics of Life

99% of plants cells are dead which make up the body or structure of a plant.

Have you ever wondered why are plants living organisms? What makes these immobile creatures living? Actually, for any creature to be called living, it must fulfill certain conditions. These conditions are called characteristics of life. There are seven very important conditions that a creature must fulfill to be called a living organism. These conditions or characteristics are:

  • Metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Reproduction
  • Growth
  • Stimulus response
  • Adaptation
  • Organization

Although 99% of plants cells are dead, they are still called living beings. This is because with the remaining 1% of the cells, plants are able to fulfill all the required characteristics of life.

1% of plants cells are living which are spread across a plant body.

What is Wood?

What happens when we cut a plant? Well, we get wood for sure. We then use this wood for different purposes. We either use it as a fuel by burning it or we make things out of it such as furniture, doors, windows, and flooring, etc.

But when we nail wood to make furniture, does it get hurt? Is it still alive? The simple answer is no because a piece of wood cannot sustain itself. In other words, wood does not fulfill the characteristics of life.

What is Wood

What Happens When We Cut a Plant?

When you cut a plant, some of the 1% of living cells also die. If you cut it above the ground, all the living cells above the point of cut will die soon. As a result, the cut section of the wood will not be able to receive nutrients from the ground. And the leaves will not have any fuel to convert into energy using photosynthesis.

You will call this wood dead for sure as it neither breathes nor consumes energy anymore. But what is with the wood that is left behind i.e. wood that is still part of the ground? Is it still alive or is it dead?

Can a Plant Regrow Once We Cut It?

The wood that is below the cut or the wood that is still connected to plant roots can well and truly be alive. The living cells in the roots and the leftover plant body can still make a perfect connection. Roots can still provide the nutrients to the remaining parts. This is why plants often regrow even if you cut them.

Plant Regrow Once We Cut It


So, now you understand why it is not very easy to say either the wood is dead or alive. Since majority of plant cells are dead, it is difficult to make sense of why a plant is living being to begin with. And while it is very easy to say a piece of wood cut from a plant dead, it is not as simple either. This is because the part of wood that stays connected to roots can still regrow.

All in all, the cut wood we use to make different items is certainly not alive. Whereas the wood that remains behind attached to the roots can or cannot be alive. If it regrows, it is a sign of life. If it does not, then it RIPs.

Want to know more about woods? Check this out:

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Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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