Friday, May 24, 2013

Inside The Secret World of Plant Communication

Without plants, humans and animals could not survive, so it’s no wonder we long to communicate with them. Many past civilizations worshiped plants and have tried to converse with them through rituals and other means.


More recently, however, “plant whisperers”—super-sensitive plant lovers who talk to their lettuce seedlings or play Mozart for the orchids—have been much maligned. Even Prince Charles, a fanatic gardener, says he has been called “loony this, loony that” for his habit of talking with trees and plants. This modern form of plant whispering came onto the cultural scene in the 1960s and ’70s, in large part due to The Secret Life of Plants, a best-selling book purporting to prove that plants are conscious beings with emotions capable of communicating with humans. The book was made into a documentary with an original score by Stevie Wonder, but the scientific community roundly dismissed the tome and accompanying hubbub as pseudoscience.

Four decades and innumerable scientific studies later, the plant culture wars are heating up again—with some flora lovers calling for the ethical treatment of plants.

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