What a Plant Knows by Daniel Chamovitz


7 Critic Reviews

...the book is unlikely to appeal to nonbotanists.
-Publishers Weekly


How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? Can it actually feel an insect's tiny, spindly legs? And how do cherry blossoms know when to bloom? Can they actually remember the weather?

For centuries we have collectively 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 all to consider whether plants might even be aware of their surroundings.

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 science and our place in nature.


About Daniel Chamovitz

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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.
Published May 22, 2012 by Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 228 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for What a Plant Knows
All: 7 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 5


Below average
Apr 15 2012

Backed by new research on plant biology, this is an intriguing look at a plant's consciousness.

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Reviewed by PD Smith on Jun 19 2012

This elegantly written account of plant biology will change the way you see your garden.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
Mar 26 2012

...the book is unlikely to appeal to nonbotanists.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Bill Laws on Jun 01 2012

The reader will, however, find enough absorbing science to concede that plants continue to inspire and amaze us.

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We Love This Book

Below average
Reviewed by David Stuart

Readers may not all become amateur botanists over night, but they will inevitably be encouraged to give a bit more thought to what plants know...

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Whether you are a green thumb, a science buff, a vegetarian, or simply a nature lover, this rare, inside look at the life of plants will surprise and delight.

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Audubon Magazine

Below average
Reviewed by Frank Graham Jr. on Jul 01 2012

If his book sometimes wallows deep in chemistry and genetics, New Age readers can play some Mozart on the stereo or an iPod to help waft them through to the end.

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