• Question: Do plants have a personality

    Asked by chloegriffiths to Douglas, Hugh, Matt, Tom on 25 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Matthew Hurley

      Matthew Hurley answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      I don’t think so – even though it would be nice to think of them in that ‘Bill and Ben’ type way.

    • Photo: Douglas Blane

      Douglas Blane answered on 25 Jun 2010:

      Interesting question.

      I was interviewing a plant scientist at Glasgow University recently and she was telling me that it’s possible to detect all kinds of electrical and chemical signals in plants now.

      If an insect bites one part of a plant for instance you can detect an increase in signals at another part.

      So it’s certainly working as a single living thing and not a bunch of separate cells with nothing to pull it together.

      I’m not sure about personality though. That’s something that seems to me to belong to humans and a lot of animals.

      Now that I think of it though, I wouldn’t like to rule out the idea that you could get nervous plants or grumpy plants or lazy plants. It’s a nice idea.

      The plant scientist I was talking to is called Anna Amtmann, by the way. She gave me a fascinating little book about how women can be scientists as well as mums.

      You can get a pdf copy of it here: http://tinyurl.com/2agmehr – or by Googling “Mothers in Science”. It’s well worth a wee read.