Since I was a little girl, I always detested almost all the novels but I’ve always loved the factual or linguistic books and documentaries. I love learning. If I had not spent all that unnecessary time in school, I would probably spend my days reading these books and watching documentaries, if they had let me do so. Sometimes you really learn interesting and unique things, like this time.
I watched a documentary on communication in plants (in French: http://www.france5.fr/emission/nature-invisible/diffusion-du-06-07-2013-19h00). This is something I’ve always suspected, as I wrote here, and the documentary showed evidence beyond what I could have hoped.
The plants are communicating. The plants are intelligent. They have no brain? Yes but what is the brain if not some cells which works together? No, in the plant there is not, as in most animals, a kind of centralization system, but each cell communicates with its neighbor. A bit like a swarm, they said in the film. Or even, like, why not, ants, bees and wasps are doing together, in addition to the individual level ; as if this type of insect was halfway between the plant and animal. An anthill or a beehive works like one unit.
Thus, the plant communicates in the same way within its cells, each cell communicates with the others. They proved this through the following experiment:
If the roots of a plant touches a foreign plant (not from the same family), the plant will create larger leaves to steal the light of the other, to ensure that it will be enough to itself, and preserve the proper conservation and evolution of the genes it possesses.
On the contrary, if the roots of the same plant affect a plant of the same family, it will create smaller leaves to let its neighbor who has the same genes also enjoy light.
But that’s not all, plants communicate with the outside world. It has also been proven that plants will always find a support if they need one, wherever it is placed, and they will direct themselves (grow) directly to him. Plants can see.
Plants have a memory. They took the same two plants and watered one of them with a solution containing zinc in small quantities. Zinc is a heavy metal and is poisonous to the plant. The other has never suffered that. Then they watered once the two plants with a solution with very much zinc. The plant which had been previously watered with zinc became less damaged than the other that had never received any zinc solution (although the first one had received more!) . So the plant remembered the zinc solution and was able to protect itself.
It’s not over yet. This is the most incredible. The plants are real communicating being, and probably more than you and me. Plants can hardly move, then they need help with anything they have to do.
First they communicate with each other, through odoriferous molecules (?), probably. They put several plants in different boxes and deprived one of them of oxygen. The plant which was deprived of oxygen reacted, but the strangest thing is that the other plants in the other boxes reacted the same way when they had not removed the oxygen from them. In a way they get prepared to a lack of oxygen because the other plant told them that there was a problem of oxygen.
Even worse : plants such as orchids are able to look like a insect and send the same odoriferous signals than the female of the latter insect to attract the male, which, when « mating » with the plant will be covered by pollen and transport it and then help the plant to reproduce.
But that’s not all. A plant as a tobacco plant, if attacked by a grasshopper, will be able to produce more nicotine, which in high doses is a poison for the grasshopper, and so the plant will cut his appetite immediately. However, if a larva (insensitive to nicotine) began to devour it, it will be well into trouble… Well no, the plant will send another odoriferous message, this time to attract a bug to it, just waiting to devour a such larva, and thus release the plant from the invader.
The plant constantly calls the enemies of its enemies and manipulate the world…
There are many examples, especially troubling.
The plant would have a huge range of odoriferous « words » (odors, pheromones … similar to our hormones), and so it would communicate in a kind of telepathy with the surrounding world which it knows perfectly. The plant knows what surrounds it, and uses it for everything.
But what drives me to write this article is not to make a list of all of these capabilities, but rather something that has troubled me in this documentary. They saw it as a future possibility to try to decode the language of plants, bringing as evidence that unfortunately we did not have the keys to this language and we do not understand any word. In my opinion this is a big mistake.
The Bible and science often claim that the human being is above everything, but yet, the human being undoubtedly receives signals from these plants every day, and he is “manipulated” by these ones as well as the animals are. The human being is not made by a distant God forever and unchanging, he is a part of the world and is made of the same cells and the same material than the other living beings. He is not the life, as the animals are not the life, as the plants are not the life. It is a type of life, in the life of the universe. So it goes without saying that plants are making us constantly and speak through us like through animals, or as the world speaks through us.
The examples are there, though. When walking, we, especially girls, easily make bouquets of flowers (as you can read in the role of women article). Because flowers are beautiful. We pick the most mature, that is to say the most hatched, the richer in pollen ; and the most beautiful, that is to say, the healthiest. The plant communicated, of course, it communicates with the human being who is sensitive to beauty, why else would they be so beautiful? What will be the benefit? They are saying « Hello we are here ! Can you see us ? ».
In reality, when making this bouquet, we helped the plant to reproduce. We chose the healthiest and richest in pollen, and by taking them, by lowering us to pick up other, often similar, a little further, we spread the pollen around. In return the plant gives us a few days beauty before dying. What about the crowns of flowers that we (more) often made before, or flowers that the girls like(d) to put in their hair? Nothing better for the plant to cling to the hair so that the pollen is spread further, for example when the girl is brushing her hair.
The film clearly said that there is a constant war between plants and insects (apart from those that are useful to them like bees, bumblebees and other pollinating insects).
So I just want to say…
Why are we detesting insects so much? Why do we feel an urge to crush them when many of them are absolutely not dangerous to us. Even worse, why do bees and wasps seem less disgusting when they in fact are more dangerous to us? And even stranger, why do we like ladybugs so much when they in fact are beneficial to plants and never attack them? Why do slugs and other snails seem so disgusting? And even stranger, why are we detesting caterpillars which attack plants, while we are liking butterflies which help in pollination, when it is just the same animal?
In fact, maybe I’ll shock you but it’s like this we feel what the plants always feel, when we see an insect or slug we imagine it climbing on us even when it has no reason to do, and this seems totally repugnant. Maybe this is exactly what the plant feels?
Maybe the plants are just talking through us ?
Yes, we are on the side of the plants. We pity a plant that lacks water and we do not care about a dying insect…
Maybe the yew (Taxus baccata) grows so slowly that it needs to survive to be so toxic that it can kill a horse with a few leaves? And yet, you can eat its fruit, which is in fact delicious, but you must not have the misfortune to bite the precious seed that the tree has created – and which is also very easy to remove-, because it is also very toxic. This process is brilliant, the animals and humans eat the fruit that attract them, but they throw the very bitter and toxic seed to help the tree to develop its genes, and often – children or adults – tend to throw seeds far enough… Was the tree speaking to us?
I do not know why the world is so brilliantly constructed and why plants are so fantastic, as I can not explain why the kangaroo has something as awesome as a… pocket. It is simply magical. But what I think is that we are a piece of the swarm that is the Earth, the solar system, the universe. Plants speak through us, and all matter, even stone, is alive. We are not alone, but we are otherwise surrounded by life and the matter of our cells is eternal. We are made of atoms of all the gods, and the gods are constantly communicating with us.
“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
PS: What about allergies? Is this really the human who has been transformed, or is this the plants who are sending another message to protect themselves from the human being who is now often an enemy? Is it maybe the fact that some plants have been modified so much that their communication is deranged? And finally, what about GMOs?