Evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano of the University of Western Australia has come up with an interesting theory: plants are able to form memories which can aid them in adapting to their surroundings. To do so, Gagliano used similar research concepts she relied on while studying animals during her student years and as a postdoc. Plant memory is not a new concept, going back to the 1930s and ’40s with the work being done by the Soviet Union’s Institute of Genetics’ Trofim Lysenko. Lysenko’s basic theories were solid, but his claims (which would eventually involve a twisted mix of philosophy and Marxism) veered into more science fiction than science fact. This lead to the executions of hundreds of Russian scientists and geneticists who didn’t agree with his findings. Relax, everyone-the research world is much more civilized today.
On a basic level, plants are demonstrating the ability to think and remember. For them, it might not be about survival of the fittest, but the smartest.