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Modern science is only beginning to catch up to the wisdom of the ancients: plants possess sentience and a rudimentary form of intelligence.
Plants are far more intelligent and capable than we given them credit. In fact, provocative research from 2010 published in Plant Signaling & Behavior proposes that since they cannot escape environmental stresses in the manner of animals, they have developed a "sophisticated, highly responsive and dynamic physiology," which includes information processes such as "biological quantum computing" and "cellular light memory" which could be described as forms of plant intelligence. Titled, "Secret life of plants: from memory to intelligence," the study highlights one particular "super power" of plants indicative of their success as intelligent beings:
There are living trees that germinated long before Jesus Christ was born. What sort of life wisdom evolved in plants to make it possible to survive and propagate for so long a time in the same place they germinated?"
According to the researchers, plants "plants actually work as a biological quantum computing device that is capable to process quantum information encrypted in light intensity and in its energy." This information processing includes a mechanism for processing memorized information. For example:
plants can store and use information from the spectral composition of light for several days or more to anticipate changes that might appear in the near future in the environment, for example, for anticipation of pathogen attack."
According to the study, "plants can actually think and remember."
Moreover, plant not only possess a mechanism for information gathering and processing, but appear to exercise agency or "choice" vis-à-vis different scenarios:
different group of chloroplasts and cells in the same leaf under identical constant and stable light, temperature and relative humidity condition have different opinion "what to do" in such conditions and tests different scenarios of possible future development."
The study also offers an explanation for why plants absorb more light energy than is needed for photosynthesis alone:
Another possible answer to the above question is a light training of young naïve leaves. Let's imagine when young leaf or flower is emerging out of a plant, it would be nice for that leaf or flower to know about the conditions in which it is going to emerge. Older, more experienced leaves that actually are acclimated to outside conditions can train naïve emerging young leaves with the PEPS [photoelectrophysiological signaling ]and cellular light memory mechanisms. This explains why plants possess a natural capacity to absorb more light energy than that required for photosynthetic CO2 assimilation. They need this absorbed energy in excess for optimization and training of light acclimatory and immune defenses."