What A Plant Knows


A captivating journey into the lives of plants—from the colors they see to the schedules they keep

How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? 
Can it feel an insect’s spindly legs? How do flowers know when it’s spring? Can they actually remember the weather? And do they care if you play them Led Zeppelin or Bach?
From Darwin’s early fascination with stems and vines to Little Shop of Horrors, we have always marveled at plant diversity and form. Now, in What a Plant Knows, the renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents an intriguing and refreshing look at how plants experience the world. Highlighting the latest research in plant science, he takes us into the lives of different types of plants, and draws parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. He explains how a willow knows when its neighbors have been taken over by a group of hungry beetles, and why an avocado will ripen in a paper bag with a banana (it’s the pheromones). He shows how plants know up from down, and settles the debate, once and for all, over whether or not plants appreciate that music you’ve been playing. Covering touch, sound, smell, sight, and even memory, Chamovitz considers whether it’s too much to ask if plants are aware. 

What a Plant Knows 
is a rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb. It is a true field guide to the senses for science buffs and green thumbs, and for anyone who seeks a greater understanding of our place in nature.

WHAT A PLANT KNOWS is published in the USA by Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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UK Version:
UK version
WHAT A PLANT KNOWS has been published in Japanese, Chinese (simple), Chinese (complex), SerbianHebrew, Korean, German, Croatian, Polish, EstonianItalian, Russian, Hungarian, French, Czech, Turkish and Spanish!
Take the Class!
What a Plant Knows is being offered now as a Coursera course! Daniel Chamovitz is giving seven lectures on line based on his book. Classes start every month so register now!

About the Author
Daniel Chamovitz is Director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University. His research has appeared in leading international journals. He lives in Hod Hasharon, Israel.


"Of the dozens of books I read in 2012, ... I keep coming back to Daniel Chamovitz's "What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses." ... It's incredibly interesting material, presented in an entertaining and fun way." Chicago Tribune
"The reader...will find enough absorbing science to concede that plants continue to inspire and amaze us. It's time, as Joni Mitchell sang at Woodstock, 'to get ourselves back to the garden' and take a closer look at plants." The Wall Street Journal
"This elegantly written account of plant biology will change the way you see your garden...Chamovitz lets us see plants in a new light, one which reveals their true wonder." The Guardian
"Plants may be brainless, eyeless and devoid of senses as we know them, but they have a rudimentary 'awareness', says biologist Daniel Chamovitz. In this beautiful reframing of the botanical, he reveals the extent and kind of that awareness through a bumper crop of research." Nature
"This guide to plants' sensory abilities is both surprising and great fun to read." Sunday Times
“Just as his groundbreaking research uncovered connections between the plant and animal kingdoms, Daniel Chamovitz's insights in What a Plant Knows transcend the world of plants. This entertaining and educational book is filled with wondrous examples that underscore how the legacy of shared genomes enables plants and animals to respond to their environments. You'll see plants in a new light after reading What a Plant Knows."--Gloria Coruzzi, Carroll & Milton Petrie Professor, Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, New York University
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