Thursday, 6 February 2020

plant intelligence (the architecture of trees)

‘A tree breathes without lungs, feeds without a mouth, digests without a stomach, sees without eyes, hears without ears and, most exceptional of all, reasons, communicates, and solves problems without a brain. It is even able to remember and solve problems more effectively each time they arise. That is, it is capable of learning. It is all this without having a brain, or something similar, to which these tasks can be delegated. In other words, trees do not have a centralised organisation, everything in them is spread out and not delegated to specific organs. We could define their structure as modular ... 

In a sense, the way they are structured is the quintessence of modernity: they have a modular, cooperative & distributed structure without command centres, able to perfectly withstand catastrophic & repeated predation without losing functionality. They are basically every engineer’s dream. Next time you look at a tree, stop & think about it’ 

From ‘Plant Intelligence’ by the plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso

Photographs of Somerset trees in winter by David Williams