This book provides a convincing argument for the view that whole cells and whole plants growing in competitive wild conditions show aspects of plant behaviour that can be accurately described as ‘intelligent’. Trewavas argues that behaviour, like intelligence, must be assessed within the constraints of the anatomical and physiological framework of the organism in question. The fact that plants do not have centralized nervous systems for example, does not exclude intelligent behaviour. Outside the human dimension, culture is thought largely absent and fitness is the biological property of value. Thus, solving environmental problems that threaten to reduce fitness is another way of viewing intelligent behaviour and has a similar meaning to adaptively variable behaviour. The capacity to solve these problems might be considered to vary in different organisms, but variation does not mean absence. By extending these ideas into a book that allows a critical and amplified discussion, the author hopes to raise an awareness of the concept of purposive behaviour in plants.
The fact that the ideas presented in this book will probably not always be easy to accept gives it a unique value. There are oceans of data papers and books, but many fewer intriguing and inspiring ones. Given the, in general, historically wrong view about plants as almost inanimate creatures, they have not been studied as deeply as have animals. Therefore, there are many aspects of plant biology, especially those that can illuminate their behavior and intelligence, that have been left almost untouched. If this book stimulates researchers to address descriptively, theoretically, and experimentally these many overlooked or neglected aspects of plant biology, the book will be a great success, because it is certainly not a typical scientific book, but rather a manifesto. * Simcha Lev-Yadun, Trends in Ecology & Evolution * Trewavas ... moves effortlessly from mechanistic research to invigorating insights into real-world plant behaviour. * Ian T. Baldwin, Nature * [E]ngaging, interesting, and thought provoking, with a deep commitment and introspection into the world of plant behavior and intelligence from a multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional perspective and is, most possibly, the first volume of its kind. ... The volume will be useful for both undergraduate and graduate students of botany, plant science, forestry, plant ecology, and evolution. This could also be helpful for introductory courses in biology, biological sciences, life sciences, and environmental sciences and as an introductory resource for agriculture courses. Enthusiastic readers outside academia interested in plant life, ecology, and evolution will also find this volume engaging. * Plant Science Bulletin * Biologists everywhere (but especially zoologists or zoo-minded botanists) should read and heed this book. * Nigel Chaffey, Annals of Botony *