The Mind of Plants
Narratives of Vegetal Intelligence
The idea that plants have a mind of their own has been a prominent feature of some Indigenous narratives, literary works, and philosophical discourses. Recent scientific research in the field of plant cognition similarly highlights the capacity of botanical life to discern between options and learn from prior experiences or, in other words, to think. The Mind of Plants offers an accessible account of the idea of “the plant mind” by bringing together short essays and poems on plants and their interactions with humans. The texts interpret the theme broadly—from the ways that humans mind and unmind plants to the mindedness or unmindedness of plants themselves. Authors from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences have written about their personal connections to particular plants, reflecting upon their research on plant studies in a style amenable to a broad audience. Each of the authors has selected a plant that functions as a guiding thread to their interpretation of “the mind of plants.” From the ubiquitous rose to the ugly hornwort, from the Amazonian ayahuasca to tobacco, the texts reflect the multifarious interactions between humans and flora. These personal narratives, filled with anecdotes, experiences, and musings, offer cutting-edge insights into the different meanings and dimensions of “the mind of plants.” Contributors to The Mind of Plants are key figures in the fields of ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, plant behavior and cognition, and critical plant studies. Included are simple, thumbnail-style, black-and-white illustrations of the plants to enhance readers’ appreciation of the narratives.