Beyond the View of Plants as Mere Machines: on Plant Sensation, Perception, and Awareness


I’ve always found plant behavior intriguing. Over the last six years of casual reading on it, starting with a college research report on the ill-named “Plant Neurobiology”, I learned more than I had imagined possible about the agency of plants (even after debunking misleading works such as The Secret Life of Plants). I learned that while plants do not possess a central nervous system, they nevertheless possess remarkable abilities of sensation, perception, and awareness. While these facets of life of course differ between plants and animals, plants nevertheless possess capacities for vision, olfaction, tactition, thermoception, and for detecting location, direction, and motion. Plants possess some forms of procedural memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. They signal, communicate, and network with other organisms and species. They even wield a vascular system of awareness which some contrast to a central nervous system. All of these points serve to debunk the notion…

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