Plants don't have a brain, so any claims that they can conduct cognitive processes are bound to be controversial, as they challenge our views of cognition. And yet, over the last few years, evidence has accumulated showing that plants can communicate, remember, count ... This still doesn't mean that they understand when we talk to them, but at least one should keep an open mind to be able to discover cognitive processes that may look very different from the ones in animals but ultimately serve the same functions.
I've rounded up some examples of plant cognition in my latest feature which is out today:
Could plants have cognitive abilities?
Current Biology Volume 26, Issue 5, 7 March 2016, Pages R181–R184 doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.02.044
abstract and restricted access to the full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)
The root space of plants is a highly complex and insufficiently understood system described as the rhizosphere. It enables communication both among plants and between plants and other species. (Photo: N. H. Groß)