The discussion surrounding whether plants actually have emotions, feelings, and consciousness has been ongoing for quite some time.
While plants lack a brain, nerves, or pain receptors, they do respond to their surroundings and have the ability to communicate with each other.
However, whether this implies that they are conscious and capable of feeling is a highly debated topic among scientists.
Released in 1973, “The Secret Life of Plants” suggested that plants thrive more when surrounded by classical music rather than rock and roll. The book further suggested that plants are responsive to human emotions.
Despite the fact that many of this book’s claims have been debunked, the concept continues to captivate many. In pop culture, for instance, TV shows such as “Good Omens” and “The Good Life” have segments hinting at the idea that the manner in which people communicate with their plants can actually affect that plant’s well-being.
Back in the 2000s, an ecologist known as Suzanne Simard introduced the concept of “mother trees,” which later inspired the “Tree of Souls” in the movie “Avatar.” Her hypothesis centered around the idea that the oldest and largest trees in an ecosystem, which she referred to as “mother trees,” play a vital role in supporting younger trees.
According to her research, these mother trees distribute water, carbon, nutrients, and even warning signals to saplings of the same species, thereby aiding their growth and providing protection. Simard claimed that these resources were transferred through mycorrhizal networks, which are essentially underground fungal systems.
Then, a team of researchers introduced “plant neurobiology” as a novel research area in 2006. They proposed that plants exhibit complex responses to emotional changes facilitated by sophisticated electrical and chemical signals. Intriguingly, they also claimed to have discovered neurotransmitters and cell structures resembling nerves in plants.
Fast forward to 2022, and a study focusing on French bean growth revealed some fascinating findings. While some plants were isolated, others were grown with a cane positioned 30cm away in the soil.