The Secret of Plant Intelligence, Part 1


the cabaret of plants

This book “review” is a little premature given that I have yet to read the book, The Cabaret of Plants, (hence, Part 1), but I am just so excited about its publication.  We humans, for too long, have grossly underestimated the complex role plants play in our environment, as well as their “intelligence”.  In a National Geographic interview, the author, Richard Mabey, states “what the new botany is suggesting is that plants are sensitive and problem-solving, but bypass the need for self-consciousness and brain activity that we assume is necessary for intelligence….plants, by means we do not yet fully understand, are capable of behaving like intelligent beings. They are capable of storing—and learning from—memories of what happens to them.” The field of plant perception and communication is wide open and the potential for research is infinite.  As the book suggests, we have so much to learn about, and from, our botanical counterparts.  The book is available on Amazon.

Another excellent resource on the complex communication capabilities of plants is the podcast “FromTree to Shining Tree”, produced by RadioLab.  I won’t spoil the plot or main characters of this forest mystery, but I guarantee after listening you will never look at trees the same again.  They, along with the help of some pretty spectacular supporting characters, form an amazing information superhighway naked to the human eye.  Talk about networking, forests do it in spades!

By reading and sharing books, articles and podcasts like these, we help expand general knowledge about plants and their amazing capabilities. And, the more we know about them, the more likely we are to protect and take care of our natural world. So please, read, research and share. And, oh yeah, get outdoors!

sprouting treeA “dead” tree in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire sprouts from the cut edge, showing trees have amazing regeneration abilities.

photo by Melissa Hannon

About Peter Larson

I'm a recovering academic, current high school biology/zoology teacher, blogger, and science geek with diverse interests (and experience) in the areas of zoology, anatomy, evolutionary biology, developmental biology, and exercise science. I made the fairly unusual jump from higher ed (10 years, including tenure, as a college biology professor) to teaching high school biology at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy in Northwood, NH. In addition to being a dedicated teacher, I'm also an avid distance runner - I write about running at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.