What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses

What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses


By (author) Daniel Chamovitz

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  • Publisher: Scientific American
  • Format: Paperback | 177 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 208mm x 15mm | 45g
  • Publication date: 30 April 2013
  • ISBN 10: 0374533881
  • ISBN 13: 9780374533885
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 43,732

Product description

"Enough absorbing science to concede that plants continue to inspire and amaze us." --"The Wall Street Journal" " " " "How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? Can it feel an insect's tiny, spindly legs? And how do cherry blossoms know when to bloom? Can they remember the weather? For centuries we have marveled at plant diversity and form--from Charles Darwin's early fascination with stems to Seymour Krelborn's distorted doting in "Little Shop of Horrors." But now, in "What a Plant Knows," the renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents an intriguing and scrupulous look at how plants themselves experience the world--from the colors they see to the schedules they keep. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, he takes us into the inner lives of plants and draws parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. Chamovitz shows how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the Led Zeppelin you've been playing for them or if they're more partial to the melodic riffs of Bach. Covering touch, sound, smell, sight, and even memory, Chamovitz encourages us to consider whether plants might even be "aware." A rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb, "What a Plant Knows "offers us a greater understanding of botany and science and our place in nature.

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Author information

Daniel Chamovitz, Ph.D., is the director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University. He has served as a visiting scientist at Yale University and at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and has lectured at universities around the world. His research has appeared in leading scientific journals. Chamovitz lives with his wife and three children in Hod HaSharon, Israel.

Review quote

A "Los Angeles Times" 2012 Summer Reading Selection "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." --"The Guardian" "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." --"Nature ""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." --"American Scientist ""[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 " "Verdict: Plant-astic." --"Herald Sun" (Australia) "Chamovitz's book is pop science at its best, full of vivid examples of barely imaginable ways of living" --"BBC Wildlife ""In a lively and delightful discourse that aligns botany with human biology, [Chamovitz] articulates his findings, about plants and the senses in accessible, often whimsical observations that make complex science not only comprehensible but fun to ponder." --"Booklist ""[A] handy guide to our own senses as well as those of plants." --"Audubon ""An intriguing and scientific--but easy to read--look at how plants experience life." --"Gardens Illustrated " "[Chamovitz] gently hints that we should have an