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Trees in forest from below, green tops of trees, blue sky background

Are Plants Cognitive, Intelligent Organisms? A Controversy Brews

Some plant biologists want to see them that way; others continue to insist on a Darwinian view

As panpsychism (the idea that all life forms are conscious to some extent) takes hold in science, it ruffles some fields more than others. Think of what it is doing to botany… Well, we don’t have to imagine. The University of Heidelberg put out a media release this week warning that the belief that plants do things we commonly associate with animals is straying beyond the science: Plants are often attributed with abilities similar to those known in the animal or human world. Trees are said to have feelings and can purportedly care for their offspring, like mothers. In an article in the review journal Trends in Plant Science, 32 international plant and forest researchers followed up on such assertions. Read More ›