Plant Consciousness and the Networked Intelligence
An article in New Scientist (6 December 2014) entitled “Roots of Consciousness” summarizes the growing body of evidence that plants have memory, sensory perception, attentiveness, intelligence and consciousness. Indeed there even exists today the Society for Plant Neurobiology based at the University of Florence in Italy.
It seems the mighty Charles Darwin first started the debate with his book “The Power of Movement in Plants”. He put forward the “root brain” hypothesis. The root of the plant is actually a very complex structure. The root has a cap for protection as it spreads through the soil, and is also capable of detecting various physical properties such as gravity, humidity, light, oxygen and nutrients. After the cap is a section called the meristem. The cells in this section are said to divide rapidly. After this comes the transition zone which was originally thought to have no purpose, and then there is the elongation zone where the cells actually lengthen allowing the root to grow and propagate through the soil. Charles Darwin said in his book: “It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that the tip of the radicle (primary root) acts like the brain of one of the lower animals.” It is now being seriously argued at the Society for Plant Neurobiology that this transition zone in the root is actually the nerve center of the plant.