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Do Plants Have a Brain?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • Research reveals so many complex plant abilities, some theorize they have a "brain"
  • The Venus flytrap traps its prey with leaves lined with "teeth" that clamp together like a clamshell
  • When the fern-like leaves of the sensitive plant are touched, they rapidly fold up and close
  • Pitcher plants have deep cavities filled with digestive liquid that attracts and then drowns prey
  • Some plants emit caffeine, which makes pollinators remember their scent and return
  • The sand verbena and the honey-scented pincushion coat themselves in sand to protect them from herbivores

Plants may be the most underappreciated life forms. Since they can’t move like animals, they’re usually considered simple environmental bystanders –– soaking up sun, providing oxygen through photosynthesis, providing the many fruits and vegetables we eat but otherwise living a passive existence.

Yet, scientific research is revealing so many under-recognized plant abilities, some are theorizing that plants actually have a "brain." For example, plants can defend themselves against predators but also attract desirable visitors –– pollinators. They can communicate with other plants through their root systems and, according to some research, listen, count, remember, know their kin and feel emotions like pain.

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