Gagliano, Monica. Thus Spoke the Plant – A Remarkable Journey of Ground-breaking Scientific Discoveries & Personal Encounters with Plants. North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, California

Synopsis: An accessible and compelling story of a scientist’s discovery of plant communication and how it influenced her research and changed her life. In this “phytobiography”–a collection of stories written in partnership with a plant–research scientist, Monica Gagliano, reveals the dynamic role plants play in genuine first-hand accounts from her research into plant communication and cognition. By transcending the view of plants as the objects of scientific materialism, Gagliano encourages us to rethink plants as people–beings with subjectivity, consciousness, and volition, and hence having the capacity for their own perspectives and voices. The book draws on up-close-and-personal encounters with the plants themselves, as well as plant shamans, indigenous elders, and mystics from around the world and integrates these experiences with an incredible research journey and the ground breaking scientific discoveries that emerged from it. Gagliano has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers on how plants have a Pavlov-like response to stimuli and can learn, remember, and communicate to neighbouring plants. She has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics, for the first time experimentally demonstrating that plants emit their own ‘voices’ and, moreover, detect and respond to the sounds of their environments. By demonstrating experimentally that learning is not the exclusive province of animals, Gagliano has re-ignited the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical and legal standing. This is the story of how she made those discoveries and how the plants helped her along the way.

Simard, Suzanne. Finding the Mother Tree: Uncovering the Wisdom and Intelligence of the Forest. Penguin. Imprint Allen Lane. 2021

Synopsis: The world-leading scientist of plant communication and intelligence reveals how she discovered the secrets of the forest. Raised in the forests of British Columbia, Simard was working in the forest service when she first discovered how trees communicate underground through an immense web of fungi, at the centre of which lie the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful entities that nurture their kin and sustain the forest. Though her ground-breaking findings were initially dismissed and even ridiculed, they are now firmly supported by the data. As her remarkable journey shows us, science is not a realm apart from ordinary life, but deeply connected with our humanity. In Finding the Mother Tree, she reveals how the complex cycle of forest life – on which we rely for our existence – offers profound lessons about resilience and kinship, and must be preserved before it’s too late.

Wohlleben, Peter. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World. Published by Black Inc., an imprint of Schwartz Publishing Pty Ltd. Originally published in 2015 by Ludwig Verlag, Munich, part of the Random House GmbH publishing group

Synopsis: In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.
Drawing on ground-breaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.