flowering plant. illustration,

The Mind of Plants: Narratives of Vegetal Intelligence

by Monica Gagliano Author, John C. Ryan Author, Patricia Vieira Author and Dennis McKenna Foreword

From indigenous narratives, philosophical discourses, and literary works, the idea of plants having a mind of their own, has always been a fantastical perspective with the mystery of nature. 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. Pretty cool right? The Mind of Plants brings readers an accessible account of the concept of “the plant mind” by giving both essays and poems of these little plant people and their interactions with us humans. The texts interpret the theme on a broad scheme—from the ways that humans mind and unminded  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 glorious rose to the ugly hornwort (no offense), from the Amazonian ayahuasca to tobacco, the texts reflect the multifarious interactions between humans and the wonderful world of flora. These personal narratives, filled with anecdotes, experiences, and musings, offer mind bending 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. Since we all love picture books, included in this book are simple, thumbnail-style, black-and-white illustrations of the plants to enhance readers’ appreciation of the narratives.