Plants are not animals but behave like them: they have no eyes or ears but find their own food; they have the ability to defend themselves; they have no brain but cooperate with, communicate with or compete with their neighbors; and they nurture their young.

All plants are complex and have complex feeding behaviors. They hunt with their roots – 80% of their nutrients are below ground. They forage, feeding on delicacies they discover. This is the plant version of hunting.

The wild tobacco plant, when attacked by hornworm caterpillars, emits chemicals to attract caterpillar predators. In one case they produce daytime flowers which attract hummingbirds that eat the caterpillars. When one tobacco plant is attacked, nearby plants ramp up their protective chemicals even through they have not yet been attacked.

Competition. We know that plants vie with each other to get sunlight. But one, spotted nap weed, fights underground by emitting chemicals that kill nearby native plants. In turn, lupin grass launches chemicals that kill nap weed but protects the native plants.

Animals use kin recognition. So does the plant called the sea rocket. It sends out fewer roots when its siblings are starting to grow nearby, but grows many more roots when other plants invade their area. This kin recognition is accomplished through chemicals emitted by their roots.

The Douglas fir tree can grow for approximately 1,000 years if left undisturbed, and it nurtures its young, even young which may be growing beyond the reach of the mother’s roots. The mother tree sends nourishment to the saplings through a network of roots and organic material that surround the mother as well as the saplings. Fungi colonize the tree’s roots and unite many trees in an organic feeding system. The nutrients are passed from the roots to the fungi which passes them to other fungi and eventually the roots of the saplings. Carbon is one of the elements passed in this manner.

The existence of this system was proven by scientists who covered the branch of a mature Douglas fir in a plastic bag. Then they injected radioactive carbon into the bag. The next day they returned with a geiger counter. They found that the system of roots and fungi around the injected tree were radioactive. They traced the radioactivity to the trees nearby and found that the branches of these trees, especially the younger ones, were now radioactive.

The question scientists are working on now is “How can plants do this without a brain?” Their theory is that the plants are interconnected by a neural highway that we have not yet discovered.

If you believe in the ancient saying, “As Above, So Below and As Below, So Above”, the findings of these scientists point to an interconnection of all life that has been spoken of by spiritual and religious leaders for thousands of years. This raises the question of whether plants and humans can communicate. Can we tap into the plants’ theoretical’ neural highway? We’ll look into this issue in a future blog.

Next blog: Day #2 of Shamanism and Creation