Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Sunday, March 3, 2024

New paper argues that plants are not conscious





A group of plant biologists have argued in a recent paper that plants are definitively not conscious.



In the paper published in the journal Trends in Plant Science on July 3, the scientists write that “There is no evidence that plants require, and thus have evolved, energy-expensive mental faculties, such as consciousness, feelings, and intentionality, to survive or to reproduce.”



The scientists’ words are a direct rebuke to researchers who study the discipline called plant neurobiology. Plant neurobiologists have argued that plants have the ability to learn, respond to their environment, and have a form of consciousness.




"What we've seen is that plants and animals evolved very different life strategies. The brain is a very expensive organ, and there's absolutely no advantage to the plant to have a highly developed nervous system,” plant biologist Lincoln Taiz from the University of California Santa Cruz and one of the co-authors of the report was quoted as saying in a media report.