Can Plants Think?

Can Plants Think?

Sep 17, 2014

Scientists debate a new way of understanding flora.

The leaflets of the Mimosa pudica, or “sensitive plant,” fold up when touched. It’s “that rare plant species with a behavior so speedy and visible that animals can observe it,” writes Michael Pollan.

In his latest piece for The New Yorker, Michael Pollan discusses the scientific controversy regarding the field of “plant neurobiology,” and whether plant intelligence exists. Some plants, he writes, can hear caterpillars chomping on a neighbor’s leaves. Others display altruistic behavior towards kin, restraining their growth to allow relatives to thrive. But is any of that evidence of intelligence?

photo by Eric Hunt

 

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