Intelligent Plants


The name is Stefano Mancuso. The job description includes finding the “brain” of a plant and understand its functions; a plant neurobiologist to be exact. The idea is that plants (in general) have intelligence, consciousness. Classically, we disregard plants as living, living creatures to be exact. Stefano Mancuso is on a mission to prove otherwise. I would argue this the Darwinian way; that adaptation has been confused with intelligence but Stefano has got that covered as well.

Plant blindness is a thing; the inability to see or notice the plants in the environment, a tool to protect our brain from processing too much information. In his speech for TedTalk 2010, inspired by the Charles Darwin’s (1880) Power of Movement in Plants, Stefano envisioned the possibility of assimilating plants with modern technology.

Intelligence is defined as the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Adaptation is defined as a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.

The root apex is where the magic happens, the brain, the sentient, the consciousness, the intelligence. The transition zone is the part with the most consumption of oxygen in the plant (root).


And when it comes to the discussion of roots of plant, of any plant, the roots are a network, a system to synchronize and to communicate. To which Stefano then elaborated alongside a picture of the interconnectivity, of the network of the Internet. He speaks of the possibility of plant to evolve network… an idea I found to be abstract and unexplained at the end of the video.

“It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the tip of the muscle thus endowed, and having the power of directing the movements of the adjoining parts, acts like the brain of one of the lower animals.”

~Charles Darwin, 1880 – Power of Movement in Plantspower1

Now this book is an extension of the work on climbing plants to show that the same mechanisms hold good for flowering plants in general.

What made him come to this conclusion of intelligence? That anything that could or can defend itself is intelligent artificial intelligence so far has yet attempted to define itself that way.

And the he included Michio Kaku in the mix. Ba-da-bam! This is my man, Michio Kaku; a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York. In the book “The Future of the Mind”, Michio explains that the consciousness is the number of feedback loops required to create a model of one’s position in space with relationship to other organisms and finally in relationship, the time. Michio even rated thermostat as having one unit of consciousness, in the way the way that it detects temperature around it.

The interchanging use of intelligence and sentience is confusing and misled the audience to think that it is mad science. Other than the fact that plant neurobiologist exist, the science behind the statement is legit. That plants are responsive.  The highlight would be the fact that plants do what they do in the most optimum of ways. That they are the true inheritor of Earth. Aptly adapted.


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