An accessible and compelling story of a scientist's discovery of plant communication and how it influenced her research and changed her life.
In this "phytobiography"--a collection of stories written in partnership with a plant--research scientist, Monica Gagliano, reveals the dynamic role plants play in genuine first-hand accounts from her research into plant communication and cognition. By transcending the view of plants as the objects of scientific materialism, Gagliano encourages us to rethink plants as people--beings with subjectivity, consciousness, and volition, and hence having the capacity for their own perspectives and voices. The book draws on up-close-and-personal encounters with the plants themselves, as well as plant shamans, indigenous elders, and mystics from around the world and integrates these experiences with an incredible research journey and the groundbreaking scientific discoveries that emerged from it. Gagliano has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers on how plants have a Pavlov-like response to stimuli and can learn, remember, and communicate to neighboring plants. She has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics, for the first time experimentally demonstrating that plants emit their own 'voices' and, moreover, detect and respond to the sounds of their environments. By demonstrating experimentally that learning is not the exclusive province of animals, Gagliano has re-ignited the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical and legal standing. This is the story of how she made those discoveries and how the plants helped her along the way.
"In this revelatory new book, we are brought into the presence of gifted storytellers in three different forms: a scientist, traditional plant practitioners, and the plants themselves. Gagliano's discoveries uproot assumptions about the plant world as insensate, revealing their capacities to listen, learn and remember. This is a compelling story of discovery at many levels, simultaneously personal, scientific, and spiritual. It will change the way you see the world."
--Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, and author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
"Beautifully written and thought provoking, this book brings to light the relationship of an accomplished evolutionary ecologist deeply rooted in Western science and culture, and some plant species, which guide her through dreams and visions with the support of indigenous wise women and men. An inspiration for those willing to listen to the many voices of nature, living as we are in an animated intelligent world we are rapidly destroying."
--Luis Eduardo Luna, author of Vegetalismo: Shamanism Among the Mestizo Population of the Peruvian Amazon, and co-author of Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman
"In part guided by indigenous shamans, in part by the author's own cultivated receptivity, Gagliano dives into isolation with various plant species which have been recognized as having strong voices that humans can hear. She consults with plants that give specific instructions about how to prove botanical consciousness in both the seen and unseen worlds."
--Kathleen Harrison, MA, ethnobotanist, Botanical Dimensions