Are Plants Smart?
I always thought plants were just background noise or something to be trimmed or shaped to our topiary liking. But I have read and watched a few things recently that are starting to change my mind.
One thought is the Webster’s definition of intelligence: “the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations”. Plants come up with solutions to animals eating them, disease, temperature changes, lack of water. You ever see a plant grow towards water or climb up a wall to get to sunlight. Is this just chance or is the plant solving problems? I think plants are smarter than we give them credit for. Why do some plants grow faster when exposed to music and is it carbon dioxide that is making a plant grow when you talk to it or is it just like you and I and likes to be cared for and talked to, makes you think doesn’t it?
Also plants have produced pesticides against animals that eat them, one example is caffeine, slugs hate the stuff. Plants also have figured out stuff like burrs which stick to animals fur as they pass by dispersing its seed over a larger area, and the Lotus plant that has waxy leafs that are dirt and water repellent keeping the plant clean and pristine. And the big one, they get bees to do there dirty work, if you know what I mean, wink wink, nudge, nudge (pollen for those of you that haven’t figured it out yet).
But plants have no brains right? Well Dr. Stefano Mancuso believes that the plants root apex transition zone consumes the most oxygen in any part of the plant and exhibits whats called action potential. This is the same signals that are taking place in the neurones in our brains. It is like a world wide web of roots that he believes is like the internet. Maybe not sentient but communicating and problem solving. Freaky huh?!?
I found out that plants may not understand speech but they do have a chemical vocabulary which is fairly large and they sleep and play when they are young! Terence Mckenna said “Animals are something invented by plants to move seeds around. An extremely yang solution to a peculiar problem which they faced.” I keep having visions of our green overlords laughing at us until we started mowing lawns, pruning trees, and logging them. Then there tiny screams could be heard round the world. Maybe that is why there’s global warming, the plants are turning on us. Karling said “Many people do not seem to realize that Man and all other animals are in reality guests of plants on this earth”. They go, we starve. Just think about the whole bee pollination deal, that gets fucked up and there is no plants being pollinated. That could really screw things up. But plants are resilient and they can adapt, like seeds that can stay in suspended animation for decades and still grow when planted. Or the aggressiveness of plants like the Venus Fly Trap. You ever been to a jungle? Those plants choke trees out and fight each other for sunlight, I’ve seen a tree within a tree, like a python suffocating another python it’s pretty cool. Survival of the fittest.
So next time your cutting your lawn, think to yourself, are you maiming thousands of little green stationary zombie like creatures that could be communicating to poison your water table or choke out the cat. Who knows maybe the plants and trees are just plotting, waiting to make their move, then they’ll all get up on masse like a terrifying scene from the Lord of Rings and snuff us out. Tree Hugging is sounding pretty good about now isn’t it?