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Plant Intelligence Increasingly Noted by Scientists

Actually, all matter has been noted to possess sentient intelligence – first noted scientifically by the great early 20th century scientist Chandra Bose, whose work the 1973 best-seller Secret Life of Plants was based upon.

After he proved that plants had a richer inner intelligence and even emotional life Dr. Bose went on to use much of the same instrumentation and testing protocol to demonstrate similar characteristics of seemingly innate matter, like slabs of concrete and beams of steel.

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In his TED talk above, Stefano Mancuso, professor of horticulture at the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology in Florence, Italy, discusses the basis of a prove-able fact: plants are intelligent entities. To christen his research lab in 2004,  the only lab in the world dedicated solely to showing that plants are, in fact, intelligent entities, Mancuso decided to use the controversial term ‘plant neurobiology’ to reinforce the idea that plants have biochemistry, cell biology and electrophysiology similar to the human nervous system.

Annalee Newitz at io9 has collected 10 pieces of evidence that plants are smarter than you think, and it might make you look at your potted ficus in a new light. It turns out there’s reason to believe that plants can communicate, remember, recognize related plants, and measure time. Let’s hope nobody finds out they can feel pain, or the vegans will all starve.

Among the cool collected factoids about plant cognition:

  • Plants can develop a sort of Pavlovian response to certain light wavelengths. When researchers exposed plants to a particular wavelength followed by a harmful virus, they found that future contact with that wavelength of light spurred the plants to start manufacturing antibodies — like a dog salivating in response to a bell.
  • Corn roots make a clicking sound at around 220 Hz (which is within human hearing range). And if you record a sound around that frequency and play it at a corn plant, the roots will bend towards the source of the noise.
  • Impatiens pallida plants can tell when they’re surrounded by other Impatiens pallida plants, and they don’t work as hard to hoard nutrients. Basically, the plants will fight harder for survival if they can tell that they’re around strangers.
  • Tobacco plants are able to send off chemical danger warnings when attacked, which can be picked up even by plants of a different species.

lynnea2 The BoardLynnea Bylund is managing director of Gandhi Legacy Tours, Director of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, founder of Catalyst House and has nearly three decades of experience in administration, marketing and business development. She was a nationally recognized spokeswoman for the emerging alternative video and information delivery industries. She has a degree in holistic health-nutrition from the legendary and controversial health educator and activist Dr. Kurt Donsbach, she is the founder of two not-for-profit small business-based wireless trade associations and has lobbied on Capitol Hill and at the FCC where she has spoken out strongly against the cable TV monopoly, illegal spectrum warehousing and ill-conceived congressional schemes to auction our nation’s precious airwaves to the highest bidder. Ms. Bylund is a founder and former CEO of a Washington DC telecommunications consulting and management company with holdings in several operating and developmental wireless communications systems and companies. In 1995 Lynnea became the first female in the world to be awarded a Broadband PCS operating permit – she was one of only 17 winners, along with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon in the biggest cash auction in world history, raising a whopping $8 billion. Lynnea also spear-headed the successful effort to launch the first cable TV network in the South Pacific islands.

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