What Plants Talk About

When we think about plants, we don’t often associate a term like “behavior” with them, but experimental plant ecologist JC Cahill wants to change that. The University of Alberta professor maintains that plants do behave and lead anything but solitary and sedentary lives. “They’re actively engaging with the environment in which they live,” Cahill insists. “They actively communicate. They actively respond to the nutrients, and the predators, and the herbivores that are around them. It’s a really dynamic system.” By exploring the fascinating behaviors of plant life, including the dodder vine, wild tobacco plant, and Douglas fir, What Plants Talk About teaches us all that plants are smarter and much more interactive than we thought! What Plants Talk About premiered Wednesday, April 3 at 8/7c on PBS.

  • Lori Chamberlain

    I can’t wait to watch this one! ALL of the others that I’ve watched have been well researched, well filmed, carefully paced and a joy to watch. Hat’s off!

  • hannah weaver

    I must say, PBS has outdone itself when it comes to standard tv programing. I have never seen such an exellent form of educational entertainment until I watched my first nature program. JOB WELL DONE!!!!

  • Alyssia Alexandria

    Thank you for the opportunity to view this program and share with my followers.
    I love plants and I respect them – Plants help to increase our humanity – they are a gift from Mother Nature?:) Why many people disregard them is a wonder? and a Shame. I am developing a NPO to increase more green spaces i urban ( and industrial ) areas – graytogreen.org for three reasons. To ensure the NexGen appreciates and includes green spaces in their life plan(s). To inspire elected officials on the Hill to include green spaces within their policy making and lastly educate the public that Gardens are human constructions which enable us to learn more about our selves and the Earth – the place we live. PBS and the program Nature, Rocks – thank you!

  • Corey Ives

    I’m excited for this show. I’m a plant nerd and obsessed with Permaculture, so this will be enjoyable for sure.

    Ives Organics

  • ceci boloca

    A fascinating program which proved to me it makes sense I feel compelled to talk to my plants. :-)

  • JoAnne Bruno

    Absolutely fascinating! Thank you!

  • Anne Mulcahy

    Saw the Nature program tonight. Reminded me of many years ago when I still planted gardens in square patches and cilantro was just becoming popular.
    I planted a square patch of cilantro next to a patch of green bell peppers. As both types matured, the pepper plants nearest to the cilantro grew slanted away from the cilantro and never produced any peppers. The next row produced a pepper a plant, and the third row produced many peppers.
    I pulled a leaf off a cilantro plant and its smell made me gag. I pulled up all the cilantro plants but the nearest pepper plants never recovered.
    I’ve since discovered cilantro makes me ill.

  • Pat Hurley

    TRULY worthwhile ! A must! see if you are a gardener, plant enthusiast or just curious about what goes on on your planet….Thank you for such a great program.

  • Jo Shee

    I have always felt that the vegetable world is superior in many ways to the animal. They are truly in accord with the natural world and not in opposition to it. They do not have those ‘egoistic’ concerns that tend to destroy rather than exist harmoniously with other living forms.

  • Brian

    Can this be purchased on DVD?

  • jessica heny

    I missed the show but I need notes about it!! HELP!

  • Steve

    Absolutely the BEST I have ever seen. A must to see!

  • Doug

    I am so excited for this show! Set my DVR, and a calendar reminder two weeks ago!

  • Donna

    This was the best show I’ve ever seen! I’m a Floral Manager and was absolutely glued to the show. Is it possible to get a copy of it somehow?

  • Robert Rainford

    Incredible program! It just aired. Imagine, adult trees supporting immature trees! Plants recognizing sibling plants! Chemical warfare underground over resources! Thank God we didn’t design any of it!!!!!

  • Charlie Gibbons

    Wow. What a wonderful program….

  • Bandot

    This show was excellent. Very enlighting on how plants behave.

  • Alex R

    Seems to me that a lot of this boils down to semantics, and the meaning of things like “intelligence”, “social”, and “awareness”. There have been some remarkable discoveries on plant interaction (and some mystical language surrounding it), but they don’t seem to be evidence of the sentience or consciousness that many people see as a distinguishing factor between plants and higher animals like humans.

  • kat wagner

    This was a great program – I’m a Master Gardener and my husband is a landscape nurseryman and he was mesmerized. Especially about the self awareness thing. We also wish we could get rid of that damn knapweed.

  • Stuart

    Wasn’t this originally broadcast in Canada on CBC’s “The Nature of Things” as “Smarty Plants?”


  • Todd Somers

    Loved the Show just watched it tonight …. but the program ended with a question of ” We understand that the plants, trees, and fungi do communicate but the question they were trying to understand is how?” Well i don’t think Im privy secret knowledge but its my understanding that they communicate via a chemical secretion of “DMT”. In fact, most animals and humans also produce DMT as well and when the pineal gland secretes or releases DMT into our bodies we also can communicate with the plant world…..I believe it is one of the few remaining ties we as living things on this planet still share (although ours has since gone dormant). Check it out.

  • Ellecia

    The show was fabulous! How can I get access to the full episode to share with my daughter’s 5th grade science class?

  • CAS

    In the movie “Avatar” where Dr. Grace Augustine (sijourney Weaver) states the tress are communicating with each other. I believe man did communicate with plants and animals. How else did we learn what plants are good for what ailment? Why did we lose this ability? Most people will ignore this info, some will say we are crazy to believe this. I for one am truly glad the truth is being told. Thank you PBS for sharing this.

  • Dria Coch

    I loved this program! So well researched! Plants are amazing, but this show made me feel a little guilty about being a vegetarian. Still, I have to eat something!!!!

  • kirk cammarata

    Show was great. Is there someway to access online, or will it be re-broadcast ? I wasnt to share with my students. THX

  • Tree Guy

    I watched the whole program last night and was thoroughly amazed. A perfect example of the complexity of ecosystems and how plants have evolved to survive in them. It would be interesting to study how the domestication and cultivation of plants has adversely affected their survival and the environment.

  • Peter Goulet

    This was an astounding show. One of the best I’ve ever seen. The C14 demonstration was mind blowing. More shows like this please. Every expert was amazing.

  • Roger

    I really found this program brilliantly done, and it definitely portrayed how plants are so much more than humankind thinks. It is a shame that humankind has trashed the planet, air, and water, purely from greed.

  • Sue Rhoads

    Loved it. I hope you will be reshowing it. Very informative and totally enjoyable.

  • Jim

    I love my TickleMe Plant

  • Thelma

    Can,t wait to see it tonight. I grew my first TickleMe Plant 40 years ago. It closed its leaves and lowered its branches when tickled.It changed the way I look at plants for ever. I get them online to excite other about nature.

  • Asia Billings

    Very nice. I’ve thought this had to be going on somewhere, but where are the scientific papers with support?

  • Rebecca Ando

    This program confirms the relationships between plants, insects and the connection between the world as a whole. Wonderful presentation! Thank you so much for all the time and effort it took to produce this masterpiece!

  • fultonk

    Hi Ellecia,
    You can watch the full show here if you live in the US & Territories, or purchase it at ShopPBS. Thanks for watching!

  • Steven Alexander

    I grew up cutting every apple that I got on Halloween looking for nonexistent razor blades. Later in life, I discovered it was an urban legend. No razor blade has EVER been found in any apple on Halloween. I did not like one of the ’scientists’ using words linking razor blades to apples. This is the propagation of a falsehood. Is that the job of Nature? Nature should mention this and have him apologize on a future show. When you turn on so many TV news programs we are often told what to fear. Should we fear something that has never happened? We already have ‘news’ channels for that. Please don’t start it on PBS.

  • Mike

    I really want to know where the area was they were filming in when they were studying the wild tobacco. Incredibly beautiful, I would like to visit that area.

  • Mac McNair

    I enjoyed the program enormously, and would also appreciate a list of the major scientific papers in support. I realize that I can put together my own list, starting with the names of the featured researchers — but it’s a major job!

  • Clarisse

    Hello JC Cahill! congratulations for a terrific project. Question on Plant and Music, stimuli response is based on instinct, correct? (so is light and growth) Do you have any break through explanation on plants’instinct?
    Below is my notes&quotes
    a Fan :)
    Plant and Music. The noisy rock music will only make the plants grow feeble and sick. Preferably, play Mozart, Bach, or Beethoven to make your plant grow better. A certain well paced duration would stimulate healthy growth. Frequency Hrtz is related
    Jody Barnes elaborates http://www.helium.com/items/989723-how-music-can-help-plant-growth?page=2

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