What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamovitz


A captivating journey into the lives of plants—from the colors they see to the schedules they keep

How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? Can it feel an insect’s spindly legs? How do flowers know when it’s spring? Can they actually remember the weather? And do they care if you play them Led Zeppelin or Bach?

From Darwin’s early fascination with stems and vines to Little Shop of Horrors, we have always marveled at plant diversity and form. Now, in What a Plant Knows, the renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents an intriguing and refreshing look at how plants experience the world. Highlighting the latest research in plant science, he takes us into the lives of different types 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. He explains how a willow knows when its neighbors have been taken over by a group of hungry beetles, and why an avocado will ripen in a paper bag with a banana (it’s the pheromones). He shows how plants know up from down, and settles the debate, once and for all, over whether or not plants appreciate that music you’ve been playing. Covering touch, sound, smell, sight, and even memory, Chamovitz considers whether it’s too much to ask if plants are aware.

What a Plant Knows is 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. It is a true field guide to the senses for science buffs and green thumbs, and for anyone who seeks a greater understanding of our place in nature.

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.

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What a Plant Knows (and other things you didn’t know about plants) with Daniel C

Published on Jul 24, 2013

Sign up at http://www.coursera.org/course/plantk…. The course What a Plant Knows (and other things you didn’t know about plants) by Daniel Chamovitz and Aviva Katz from Tel Aviv University will be offered free of charge to everyone on the Coursera platform.

What a Plant Knows with Daniel Chamovitz

Published on Feb 6, 2014

To understand life in the universe, we first must understand life on Earth – both animal and plant. Plant life impacts everything from the terrain under our feet to the air we breathe. Scientist and author Daniel Chamovitz unveils the surprising world of plants that see, feel, smell, and even remember.

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