Could plants be conscious?

Plant mandala by Danmala

Plant mandala by Danmala

Many of us nature lovers and herbalists feel a spiritual connection with plants, but do you think they might be conscious? Read a new excerpt from my book DANDELION HUNTER about this idea, then tell me what you think in the comments below.

You can also download a free PDF of the first four pages of the book, about my first wild food survival adventure.
DANDELION HUNTER comes out really soon: April 2! You can catch me reading it on my Pacific Northwest mini-tour planned for this spring. If you’re not local, you can join me for a virtual reading at 4 pm Eastern/7 pm Pacific on Tuesday, April 2 here. It’s free to watch and you can even ask me questions using your webcam!

Get your copy from Amazon, Powells, or Indie Bound.
Upcoming classes:
– The very first Urban Foraging 101 of 2013 will be held [edited] 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday March 31, meeting in the gravel lot outside of Townshend’s Tea on Alberta Street, Portland. A very enjoyable urban plant identification walk, followed by a plant-spirit meditation and herbal smoking experience. $40, with a $10 discount for students who have taken the class in prior seasons.
Super cool free resource:
You can get free audio, video and notes of college classes from Yale, Harvard, and other top universities on Anatomy & Physiology and other very relevant courses for us herbally inclined folks at

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9 thoughts on “Could plants be conscious?

  1. Great excerpt. Thank you for being brave and including such a potentially controversial topic in your book. Outside of the dogma of “science”, creating (or reintroducing) commons of understanding of things like plant consciousness depends on published conversations about it. Especially when we’re seeing such recent examples of resistance (some would say censorship) to these ideas, namely the removal of talks by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock, we need more unabashed communication about these topics, so thanks again.

  2. Absolutely, I believe plants have consciousness. I’ve had many experiences that confirm this (at least to me) – conversations with trees, initiated by the tree, the first time an ancient Redwood which blew me away. But afterwards, I remembered the magic of being a child and my relationship with the trees and wildflowers in the woods behind my home. I was always having conversations and didn’t think it was strange at all. These stopped in adolescence and I really missed it. I actually talked to my mother about “the magic being gone” and she had no idea what I was talking about.

    Personally, I believe it’s innate in being human, as a strand of consciousness here, along with all the others (tree, animal, bird, insect, and yes, rock, mountain, stream, ocean, etc.) that we have the ability, indeed the responsibility, to open ourselves to a reciprocal relationship with the non-human world in which we live.

    As a gardener and an herbalist, I consciously open myself to messages from the plants. I’ve even had plants yell at me to get my attention! Part of it is believing it’s possible. Then you have to learn to trust what comes. I also like to share my stories with others who seem open. And so many times I’ve had people share a story in return. Or remember something that happened that they had dismissed as their own inner chatter or a fantasy that wasn’t real. The thing is, sometimes the messages are unique to whomever. But sometimes, like attuning to the personality of a plant or tree, others pick up the same vibes.

    I believe that if more people opened themselves to this magical world we live in we’d treat every life form with more respect, not just those we relate to like humans and the so-called charismatic species, but all of them. When I was about 10 or 11 I remember driving on a new road with my parents and a construction company was in the process of inserting dynamite into a ledge to blast it away to widen the road. When I learned what they were doing I said, “But that hurts the rock!” Everyone looked at me as though I was crazy. I still believe the rocks feel such insults. Just as trees feel their trunks being cut, and animals hurt when they are killed for food. This doesn’t mean we don’t blast rock or cut down a tree, but there does need to be an awareness and a sense of gratitude and offering, a connection, a prayer, a sense of regret, whatever that makes us responsible for what we are doing, and very conscious of it so that we avoid unnecessary hurting and pain. Think of how different the world would be if more of us exhibited this kind of connection and awareness.

  3. First off, can’t wait to check out your book. Second, yes yes and yes…I was walking through the parking lot of our local nursery last week when a tray of red lettuce fell beneath the cart and was rolled over…my shopping buddy commented that I had a look of pain as I hurriedly rescued the “babies”. In fact, my heart did hurt for them! Maybe it’s all the Bach Flower remedies I take, like your yellow tincture…but I’m sensitive to the plants, too.

    • Thank you! I’ve been getting a really nice response to that question; people are way more open-minded than I thought! I think a lot of us are just “closeted” about it because it sounds odd from a mainstream perspective.

    • Do you think it has to do with sensitivity or do you think it’s more a matter of being able to tune out materialist programming? I tend to think the latter.

      • I think it’s more the latter as well. I don’t think it’s about certain individuals being “special” in their ability to hear or communicate with plants… I think we are all capable of this… some of us just have some deconditioning to do! I believe the same goes for nearly all psychic abilities

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