Aspects of Plant Intelligence
1 Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JH, UK
Intelligence is not a term commonly used when plants are discussed. However, I believe that this is an omission based not on a true assessment of the ability of plants to compute complex aspects of their environment, but solely a reflection of a sessile lifestyle. This article, which is admittedly controversial, attempts to raise many issues that surround this area. To commence use of the term intelligence with regard to plant behaviour will lead to a better understanding of the complexity of plant signal transduction and the discrimination and sensitivity with which plants construct images of their environment, and raises critical questions concerning how plants compute responses at the whole-plant level. Approaches to investigating learning and memory in plants will also be considered.
Key words: Phenotypic plasticity, individuality, intelligence, niche, signal transduction, plant behaviour
Source: Annals of Botany 92: 1-20, 2003