What Plants Talk About
Video: Full Episode

Watch the full episode of What Plants Talk About online:

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. What Plants Talk About teaches us all that plants are smarter and much more interactive than we thought! Buy the film. What Plants Talk About premiered April 3, 2013. (Video limited to US & Territories).

  • Kathleen Cox

    I loved this show! I’m planning to blog about it and will include the link to this site. As an inspirational speaker I think this speaks volumes to how little we know about the energy that surrounds us.

    Great show, congratulations!

  • Jacob Charts

    Brilliant program, it makes one think there is still hope for the planet after humans wipe themselves out, with their greed and consumption patterns

  • Ewa

    What Plants Talk About reveals how little we humans really know about how Earth operates as an incredible life supporting system. Wonderful film for general audiences. Thanks to Nature and PBS. I hope there’s more of this to come.

  • Stanger Randy

    This is amazing! Ty PBS

  • Jay

    Absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    It is a jaw dropping presentation! I learned so much. I will never look at plants the same way. I will be visualizing how they are communicating with each other. PBS is a treasure of outstanding programming!

  • Janet

    Thank you to each and every scientist who has devoted time and energy to the study of things that appear ’silly’ to those on the outside.The things shown in this program are fascinating and thought-provoking, and just plain awesome. Thank you to PBS and the filmmakers, too. Best programs on television!

  • Kristen

    WOW! Simply WOW! This program reminds me so much of the work I was doing with my classmates and mentor 10 years ago in college! We were on to this! If any one can think critically enough to put one and one together, of course it seems to reason that the plants have the “it of living” down more so than the human species! They have had it all along, we have just now only begun to listen to their story! What a fantastic program and what great developments in science!

  • Micahel

    So the nap weed is the Monsanto to us.

  • Karen

    Terrific! Here in the San Gabriel foothills we have huge problems with introduced invasive plants. Incredibly they are STILL sold for garden use. Education and action needed!!!
    Thank you

  • Permal Bhatt

    I loved this show. It brought back childhood intense memories since I grew up on an agricultural university campus. Also, I graduated in the subject of plant pathology.

  • Eva

    This blew my mind! Absolutely phenomenal!

  • Dave L

    Where do we fit in? We killed off the Natives in both of the Americas, who lived as part of this system.

  • Mark Story Jenks

    What a wonderful program! I’ve always believed plants communicate. We have so much to learn.
    I am caring for some Mockernut Hickory (Carya alba) trees on our property, (less then an acre) sired from a 180 year old healthy tree that a short sighted neighbor had destroyed in order to improve his view of the river. Then he moved away within a year.
    I grew up with two sisters and five brothers, enjoying the shade from that majestic old tree for more then 50 years. When it was cut down in 2007, I asked for and received a section of the lower trunk. That is how I determined its age.
    I am presently caring for at least eight of its offspring. I have searched for and never found any others within a half mile or more.
    Programs such as this are the only thing that makes television worthwhile these days.

  • peter

    The epic battle between grasses and forests where grasses use fire to win over the forest is missing. Maybe a new show could disucss this.

  • Maude

    Clear evidence of intelligent design and engineering, if even one enzyme or protien were missing and all were not present at the same time, there would be no life on this planet. A ’simple’ cell in the lowest life form-ameba for instance- is more complicated and intrically engineered while functioning astonishingly flawlessly than any engineering achivement designed by man. Keep the Nap weed out of your life.

  • Aloke

    You should have included work done on this subject by other scientists in the past..
    Google “J C Bose” or “Jagdish Chandra Bose”.
    The program implies that the Canadian Professor and the others shown are the only ones working on such research.

  • Michael Hamilton

    Absolutely brilliant programming!! This show is a must for any nature or plant enthusiast. I hightly recommend this to even beginning gardeners. It’s just great fun and entertainment, as well as educational. What would happen if we all started treating plants and animals as if they were just like us–if we knew that they had life problems and enemies and friends just like us? Would we treat the world better?!

  • Mike Vandeman

    I don’t see a video, just a blank black rectangle, with no “start” button. What am I missing?

  • Ralph

    Sounds good, and wish I could view it, but it says not available in my region (UK). Wonder why?

  • Jay

    It was amazing! It really should be part of educational requirements in all the schools to teach future generations how to appreciate and respect things they cannot see. All this technology these days seems to be taking us further away from being in touch with nature and our fellow human beings. To think a plant could teach us so many lessons was astounding to watch! I am definitely going to watch that episode again. Thank you. Thank you!!

  • Yvonne

    I very much enjoy Nature programs and will forgo any other programto watch.

    Thank you so very much for providing such outstanding programming.

  • WD

    Thanks Nature! Great program since the Secret Life of Plants, and Michael Pollan changed our perspective. Knap Weed as Monsanto? go figure. Some of our native species are loosing to “smarter” invasives like the Spotted Knapweed in Haines. Our Takshanuk Watershed Council has started education and eradication programs. Unfortunately we host the largest number of invasive plant species in Alaska. Creative ideas on how to “outsmart” them are welcome.

  • bess


  • Julie B

    Episodes like these confirm my belief more and more that there is a Creator of Intelligent Design! Thank you!

  • Susan

    This show was fascinating! So thought provoking.

  • JOe

    Great, I can’t watch this because I am in Canada…….booooo PBS, booooo.

  • Kevin

    As regards to the mechanism by which plants act as agents, studies have been done that shows that celluar membranes are capable of processing complex inputs in resposnse to their environment. Not my field, but I read about research done into the nature of cellular consciousness and this was what was being discovered by Bruce Lipton, et al.

  • Jamie

    With slow download times I can’t see more than a few minutes of this online. Would love to know when it’s going to air again!

  • Polly Schiffman

    “…from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
    Charles Darwin (On The Origin of Species)

  • Michelle

    My Daughter and Her Husband were raving about this program and how amazing this series is; but for some reason I can get it to work,
    for me to watch online .Yes even though I used the posted link ????

  • Sally Lacy

    Thank you for such consistently wonderful programming, and for making it available for those of us who miss a program at the regularly scheduled time. The information here was so very thought provoking. I’ll enjoy reading more from the folks in this field doing the research. I’ve also enjoyed reading through the comments. As I was watching, my reaction was to recognize the role of evolution in all of this. Fascinating!

  • Melissa

    What a shame we can’t watch this overseas! I’m an American living in Germany and would really like to see this (as well as other PBS content, which I’d love my young son to be exposed to). Is there any way around the rights restrictions?

  • Jose Trinidad Mercado

    Outstanding Programming by PBS; Magnificent Scientific revelations.
    The more I learn from science, the more Awesome God becomes to me.
    The Creator is so Unfathomable/Incomprehensible, we are so puny.
    Praise to you Lord; God of Abraham, Father of Jesus Christ.

  • april m

    This made my upcoming biology exam easier to study for!

    Only complaint: translater spoke over the audio when Dr. Consuela talked, as oppose to just putting subtitles and allowing Spanish speakers to digest her exact point of view

  • ed


  • andrew fox

    I cant watch the video because the website is too slow. I am using high speed cable modem (25 mbps) internet. I dont have TV. The website works about half the time for me.

  • Vasiliki

    Maybe plants could teach us something about the richness, beauty, and complexity of RELATIONSHIPS and COMMUNITY. …

  • jane Wright

    Ohmigosh! I had an experience with a VERY SMART and emotional house plant over a the period of about ten years. It thought, it screamed, it wailed, and when ultimately set free, it overly compensated to it’s new environment, following a few years of struggle, by becoming stronger and fiercer and greatly more large than any of it’s local brothers and sisters!

  • Gina C

    That was AWESOME!! I was holding my breath to hear they had nervous systems and felt pain. I would starve before I ate another plant if that was the case (kidding, although Id feel bad) and now I dont want to ever cut my lawn again! lol

    When they mentioned the Knapweed (sp?) it made me think of how humans are invading every aspect of the planet. Payback? We can learn alot from plants as we can from animals :)

    Its funny, this morning I saw a trees leaves emitting little ‘puffs’ and now Im guessing they are breathing or shooting out warnings/signals..very neat!
    THANKS PBS keep up the good work!!!

  • Virginia

    In the 70’s when all things were democratic and environmental, the best time in American history, there was a huge movement to grow houseplants. A result were hundreds of books that claimed much of what is in this show.
    Jerry Baker also wrote lots of book regarding that plants are our best friends or can be. The Rapp’s claimed their houseplants shook their leaves in response to them (prob not) but there was very popular book called The Secret Life of Plants. Much of this was considered bunk but I do wish this program had included this huge movement in American history but maybe because it was a relatively healthy and happy time in America–for the Middle Class– there was no point in bothering with it. Still, this is a huge oversight to leave out mention of this time.

  • Virginia

    Plants Are People Too–a very popular book of the 70’s during the houseplant craze. By Jerry Brown.

    Again, I do wish the producers of this show would have or could have included this time in our history. Shows a bi t
    of a lapse in the sociological research of this topic. But this WAS what were talking about in the 70’s–the very things the researchers in this show are talking about now.

  • Virginia

    Correction: Lord–listening to NPR. I meant Jerry BAKER, not Jerry Brown, our governor. Jerry Brown was SMOKING plants during this time. Sorry.

  • Josh

    I have been doing Bonsai for about 20 years now and have observed some pretty interesting things over the years but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what I just witnessed. It just goes to show that EVERYTHING on this planet in one form or another is ALIVE with intelligence! Keep up the awesome work NATURE!

    To those who are having trouble with viewing this documentary 1 of 3 things. Your provider is filtering my guess is your on cable. 2 your computer is older, needs to be cleaned, or updated, or a re-install. check your internet speed. 3. Cycle your modem or reset it.

  • armedtodream

    Thank you Nature for shedding light on this amazing world. It was SO good, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time & actually cried a little at how marvelous & high & wonderful this is. Props to you for putting this research together in this film, I’m sharing with everyone! “Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:11-12

  • ivonne

    My father recommended this show as I told him of the creative writing prompt I was going to have my kids do today (7 &9yo): Pick a plant and write what the plant sees, smells, eats, experiences. We watched this show as a primer to our writing and are amazed!! What a fantastic and thought provoking show….thank you and keep it up. Will definitely consider purchasing.
    P.S. We watched online without a hitch since we don’t have cable and the “free” tv channels don’t include PBS. We live just outside of Wichita, KS.

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