Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence

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The importance of plants is not just biological.

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Metropolitan Washington, DC—my home environment—is graced by the presence of Rock Creek Park, an expansive woodland resource in the center of the city. In the first spring of my retirement, I have been walking the trails adjacent to the creek, admiring and transported by the profusion and beauty of plant life.


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A lover of the meadows and the woods, And mountains; and of all that we behold From this green earth; [End Page ]. Wordsworth here and elsewhere suggests a spiritual connection between the plant world and the human psyche.

Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence

It would be a sacrilege for someone to willfully damage them. But this is unusual, and virtually anyone can appreciate what plants have to offer. Readers of Brilliant Green will have that appreciation greatly enhanced. This short book is written by a professor at the University of Florence and director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology in Italy Mancuso , and a science journalist Viola.

Do they solve problems and communicate with their surroundings—with other plants, insects, and higher animals?


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    Brilliant Green The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence

    No notes for slide. To our anthropocentric human minds, plants are either commodities or decorations.

    For in fact, plants process information, just as we do. They sleep and wake, just like us. Like us, they can see, feel, touch and remember. They can also communicate with each other and with other organisms.

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    As plant neurobiologist and researcher Stefano Mancuso points out: the idea that plants are sentient organisms which can communicate, have a social life, and solve problems by using elegant strategies—that, they are, in a word, intelligent … is not an entirely new one. Philosophers and scientists in different times and cultural contexts … have embraced the belief that plants have much more complicated abilities than are commonly observable.

    Darwin was one such believer.