A captivating journey into the inner lives of plants – from the colours they see to the schedules they keep
How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? Can a fern get jet lag? Do roses remember the romance of springtime?
In What a Plant Knows, renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents a beguiling exploration of how plants experience our shared Earth — in terms of sight, smell, touch, hearing, memory, and even awareness. Combining cutting-edge research with lively storytelling, he explains the intimate details of plant behaviour, from how a willow tree knows when its neighbours have been commandeered by an army of ravenous beetles to why an avocado ripens when you give it the company of a banana in a bag (it’s the pheromones). And he settles the debate over whether the beloved basil on your kitchen windowsill cares whether you play Led Zeppelin or Bach.
Whether you are a green thumb, a science buff, a vegetarian, or simply a nature lover, this rare inside look at the life of plants will surprise and delight you.
'an entertaining trot through current research into plant sensitivity'
Sydney Morning Herald
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‘Of the dozens of books I read in 2012, several stand out. But there's one I keep coming back to, thumbing through it, letting people know about it. It's Daniel Chamovitz's What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses . . . It's incredibly interesting material, presented in an entertaining and fun way -- in about only 140 pages. What A Plant Knows is a nice fit on my shelf of gardening books -- and that's where it will stay. Although I've recommended the book to several people, I've ungraciously not let them borrow my copy. I fear I won't get it back.’
‘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.’
The Wall Street Journal
‘This elegantly written account of plant biology will change the way you see your garden … Chamovitz lets us see plants in a new light, one which reveals their true wonder.’
‘Thick with eccentric plant experiments and astonishing plant science.’
Sunday Times (UK)
‘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.’
‘For everyone who has wondered at Mimosa, the suddenly snapping Venus flytrap or the way a sunflower's head unerringly turns to follow the sun, Daniel Chamovitz has written the perfect book.’
‘[A] fascinating inside look at what a plant's life is like, and a new lens on our own place in nature.’
Maria Popova, Brain Pickings