Do Plants Feel Pain?

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Image: brewbooks

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

What is ‘sentience’? When a person or animal is injured they react by experiencing pain, marshaling the body’s defense systems to repair the damage and begin the process of recovery. The question, surely, is whether we know enough about sentience to be quite certain that plant life does not have it.


Image: Martin Van Dalen

Every ecologist out there, and even amateur gardeners, have been known to swear that plants, too, ‘feel’ things, but it is only recent research that has demonstrated just how ‘intelligent’ they really are. Plant life has a heritage far older than mankind, and in some respects, it makes we humans seem inadequate! Is it not about time to take more notice?

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Image: Peter Kaminski

It is now known that plants have, admittedly in different forms, the same innate abilities as those with which animals and humans make sense of their environment. They see, smell, taste, feel and even listen to their surroundings. Even as seeds, ready to germinate, it’s been proven that they are sensitive to as many as twenty different factors – like the season of the year and where the light is coming from – information they need to decide the right time to start growing!

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