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The Secret Life of Plants

Wednesday Stories

Written by MJ Reporter Willow LaMunyon

Do you have a pet plant? No matter how many plants and flowers are in your garden, there is a possibility that one or several of your plants reach out to you and even respond to the touch of your hand on their leaves. Plants can indeed be people too.

The Secret Life of Plants, written by Peter Tompkins, was published in 1973 and he was totally convinced that plants have emotions and intuition. Tompkins and Christopher Bird tried many experiments on plants, as the book explains, and it is very convincing that plants have a broad range of emotions. The book was a bestseller, but the argument against the possibility of plants having feelings was strong. Plants don’t have brains, so they can’t have emotions.

The lack of plant brains should settle the theory that they can feel emotions if you take your own eyes and heart out of the equation. If they are unthinking, why do we recognize the mutual attractions, why do plants bend to the sun, how can they sense water and even gravity? Plants can and do defend themselves. They can signal other plants warnings about the lack of the necessities of life. For example, when plants don’t get enough light, they can signal the need to drop bottom leaves to give the other leaves a better chance to live.

Does this mean that plants can’t feel pain? Since they don’t have brains or a nerve system, the logical answer is no, but they can feel sensations such as an insect walking across their leaves. We know they can signal other plants, but we don’t know if they can feel pain. When people or animals feel pain, they respond instinctively with the fight or flight response. Plants don’t have the ability to move, which leaves the possibility that they do feel pain. Maybe that has something to do with why they try to live with everything they have to live when denied light, water, or proper soil. As of now, there is no way of being sure since we can’t get the plants to answer questions. Is there something other than brains and nervous systems that allows thinking? An intriguing question indeed and one that we don’t have the resources or even knowledge of what those resources are to answer.

If you have a pet plant that you love, it is possible that your plant loves you back. Gently stroke its leaves or branches, and you just might notice your plant enjoying the sensation. If you spoil your plant, it just may be responding to your love by growing strong and healthy.

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