Well, a big call to say yes to that question, however science ( far dinkum) has vindicated that answer, and it’s been accepted scientifically for some time now. I want to share with you two really cool experiments that I think everyone should be told about at school. To me, these have proved beyond a doubt, that plant forms have consciousness! The first one I will share,  comes from Chris Bird and Peter Tompkins, via their fantastic book  “Secrets of the soil”. This is a must read for any gardener, farmer, and guardian of the land.  Clive Baxter, Americas foremost lie detector examiner, conducted many experiments on plants attached to his lie detector apparatus. He used the dracaena plant, as it was highly responsive to his machine. In this experiment, he had two plants, in separate rooms. Each plant had an assigned attendant, whose sole purpose was to communicate with the plant, but not in any way physically touch the plant. Room one attendant was to tend to his subject with a loving, caring and gentle nature, while room two attendant was the opposite, and would show anger, disrespect, loudness and be abusive towards his subject. Upon entry of the attendants, the subject response was very noticeable. Plant one had a gentle, steady rise on the detector pen, indicating a response of peace, pleasure. The response from the second plant was quite the contrary, and had sharp, fast and inconsistent pulses on the pen, indicating stress !!  The rooms had frequent visitors daily, tending to there needs, however no response was recorded by these “outside ” visitors. After a period of many weeks of this intense bonding, the attendants were stood down for several months, with no visits at all taking place. During this period of stand down, no noticeable activity was recorded by either dracaena subject. Then, the big moment of truth for all participants!!  The attendants are told to enter the room, but not to speak a word. And as each attendant entered the room, the lie detector went back into action, replicating the same patterns as it had previously several months before! This gives strong evidence that the plants had a conscious sense of their surroundings, and a level of memory to relate that knowledge too …

The next experiment was carried out by Monica Gagliano, associate professor of biology  at the University of Western Australia. It was carried out on the known sensitive plant    “mimosa pudica”. This subject is well-known for its ability to curl up its leaves in response to touch, or impending danger.  In this experiment, the potted plants (56 of them) are attached to an apparatus that drops the plants 6 inches, then softly breaks the fall at the bottom. All 56 plants are dropped at 5 second intervals apart, and are dropped a total of 60 times. Of course terror ran through their veins, and they curled their mighty little leaves up in shock! To Monica’s surprise, shortly after the experiment began, many subjects became complacent, realising they were in no danger, and so stopped rolling up their leafs, and enjoyed the ride. Well before the 60 drops had been endured, all subjects had relinquished their fear, and were happy to go for the ride without curling up their leaves. It was put forward to the esteemed professor that the plants were probably getting tired, however she had this theory covered, as at the end of each plants dropping exercise, it was given a gentle shake, to which it responded by curling up its leaves again!!

These are only two experiments I have been told of, or read about. I have no doubt that consciousness, thoughts, intelligence, or whatever label you want to put on it,  exist at every level of lifeforms. To me,  it’s not about whether we can eat it, control it, or own it, but simply looking at lifeforms with a renewed respect. All aspects of lifeforms on Terra Nova deserve recognition for their role, and a place in community. Now I’m off to give my mate Poaceae a gentle trim while he has his afternoon nap……

Acknowledgements to

“SECRETS OF THE SOIL” by Chris Bird and Peter Tompkins

Monica Gagliano, associate professor at the University of Western Australia

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