Daniel Chamovitz

Indeed, we tend not to pay much attention to the immensely sophisticated sensory machines in the flowers and trees that can be found right in our own back gardens. While most animals can choose their environments, seek shelter in a storm, search for food and a mate, or migrate with the changing seasons, plants must be able to withstand and adapt to constantly changing weather, encroaching neighbors, and invading pests, without being able to move to a better environment. Because of this, plants have developed complex sensory and regulatory systems that allow them to modulate their growth in response to ever-changing conditions. An elm tree has to know if its neighbor is shading it from the sun so that it can find its own way to grow towards the light that’s available. A head of lettuce has to know if there are ravenous aphids about to eat it up so that it can protect itself by making poisonous chemicals to kill the pests. A Douglas fir tree has to know if whipping winds are shaking its branches so it can grow a stronger trunk. Cherry trees have to know when to flower.

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2 Responses to Daniel Chamovitz

  1. shinichi says:

    plantWhat a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses Paperback

    by Daniel Chamovitz

    (2013)


    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.

  2. shinichi says:

    plantj植物はそこまで知っている —感覚に満ちた世界に生きる植物たち

    by ダニエル・チャモヴィッツ

    translated by 矢野真千子

    (2013)

    植物は世界をどう感じているのか。視覚、嗅覚、触覚、聴覚、位置感覚、そして記憶。遺伝学など最新の科学的な発見で解き明かされる植物の内的な世界!

    **

    問うべきは、植物に知能があるかどうかではない。「植物は知っているのか?」であり、その答えならイエスだ。

    植物は光や色の微妙な違いを知っており、それぞれに反応する。

    植物は周囲に漂う香りを知っており、空中にある微量の揮発性物質に反応する。植物は何かに接触したときそれを知り、感触の違いを区別できる。

    重力の方向も知っていて、芽を上に、根を下に伸ばすよう姿勢を変えることができる。

    過去のことも知っている。以前に感染した病気や耐え忍んだ気候を憶えていて、それをもとに現在の生理作用を修正する。もし植物が「知っている」のなら、私たちは植物とどうかかわり合えばいいのだろう?

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