Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

Scientific discoveries to open your mind, inspire awe as you plant your flower and vegetable gardens this summer

Plants have feelings

Scientific studies in plant communication began in the 1970s. Cleve Backster, plant lover and professional polygraph operator, decided to link plants to a polygraph machine and see if they expressed any emotions. With the mere thought of burning one of the plants, it "screamed" on the polygraph.

Plants have memory

In a more dramatic experiment, Backster staged a "murder" by having a person come in and destroy one of the plants. All the other plants were "witnesses" to the crime. He then hooked up the witnesses to the polygraph and had a line up of people walk into the room. As soon as the "murderer" walked in, the plants all identified the correct person via the polygraph.

They warn their neighbors

Plants clearly send, receive and interpret messages from each other. Recent studies in the U.S., Australia and Europe demonstrate that plants warn their neighbors of attacks from plant-eating insects, birds and even from humans who are cutting them. When a plant is being attacked, it releases airborne chemicals warning others of the danger. Those neighboring plants pick up the signals and emit chemicals to protect themselves. Their root systems also communicate to the plants above ground, letting them know about predators in the soil and impending weather conditions, allowing the plants to be aware and prepare for them.

Plants love good neighbors

Studies show that plants are able to sense and affect their neighbors using some alternative pathways beyond light, chemical signals or physical contact. Even if plants are blocked off from each other to prevent their ways of communicating, they will attract specific insects for each other, warn off predators and even help others' seeds to germinate.

And operate mechanical devices

Plants can also operate mechanical devices appropriately wired for mental control. Advanced work with plants teaches them to open doors, operate watering systems, and even to control private home security systems.

Higher intelligence, consciousness, music, learning and telepathy

On a more sophisticated level of intelligence, plants can listen to musical tones and learn to change them. They can listen to classical music and train themselves to create equally complex resonant harmonies that can be reproduced on a synthesizer. Musicians can interact with plants and trees by playing their instruments while the plants hooked up to the synthesizers spontaneously "accompany" the players.

Once a plant is taught complex musical responses, it can then be placed with an untrained plant and telepathic rapport will rapidly teach the new plant the same degree of complex response. Albums of interactive plant and human concerts can be found at many music sites on the web. PJH