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What a Plant Knows

What a Plant Knows

Daniel Chamovitz

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Praise for What a Plant Knows

“The reader…will find enough absorbing science to concede that plants continue to inspire and amaze us. It's time, as Joni Mitchell sang at Woodstock, ‘to get ourselves back to the garden’ and take a closer look at plants.”—Bill Laws, The Wall Street Journal

“Through extensive research and scientific models, Chamovitz explains in accessible language how plants have somewhat human-like sensory responses to stimuli . . . By comparing human senses to the abilities of plants to adapt to their surroundings, the author provides a fascinating and logical explanation of how plants survive despite the inability to move from one site to another. Backed by new research on plant biology, this is an intriguing look at a plant’s consciousness.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Plants may be brainless, eyeless and devoid of senses as we know them, but they have a rudimentary 'awareness', says biologist Daniel Chamovitz. In this beautiful reframing of the botanical, he reveals the extent and kind of that awareness through a bumper crop of research.”—Nature

What a Plant Knows is lively, eloquent, scientifically accurate, and easy to read. I commend this engaging text to all who wonder about life on earth and seek a compelling introduction to the lives of plants revealed as through centuries of careful scientific experimentation.” —Stephen D. Hopper, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

“A fascinating book that explores accessibly the evidence that plants share more properties with animals than most people appreciate. It may come as a relief to vegetarians to learn that plants do not feel pain or suffer, in the human sense, when harvested. Nevertheless, after reading What a Plant Knows, we wanted to apologize to our daffodils for the times when our shadows have shielded them from the sun.” —John and Mary Gribbin, authors of Flower Hunters

“Chamovitz walks the Homo sapiens reader right into the shoes—or I should say roots—of the plant world. After reading this book you will never again walk innocently past a plant or reach insensitively for a leaf. You will marvel at and be haunted by a plant’s sensory attributes and the shared genes between the plant and animal kingdoms.” —Elisabeth Tova Bailey, author of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

“If you’ve ever marveled at how and why plants make the choices they do, What a Plant Knows holds your answer. Chamovitz is a master at translating the science of botany into the language of the layman.” —Michael Malice, author, subject of Harvey Pekar’s Ego & Hubris, and succulent enthusiast

“Like us, a plant that aspires to win the rat race must exploit its environment. Even a daffodil can detect when you’re standing in its light, and a rhododendron knows when you’re savaging its neighbor with the pruning shears. With deftness and clarity, Chamovitz introduces plants’ equivalent of our senses, plus floral forms of memory and orientation. When you realize how much plants know, you may think twice before you bite them.” —Hannah Holmes, author of Quirk and Suburban Safari

“Just as his groundbreaking research uncovered connections between the plant and animal kingdoms, Chamovitz’s insights in What a Plant Knows transcend the world of plants. This entertaining and educational book is filled with wondrous examples that underscore how the legacy of shared genomes enables plants and animals to respond to their environments. You’ll see plants in a new light after reading What a Plant Knows.” —Gloria M. Coruzzi, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor, Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, New York University

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