Is the phrase “smarter than a potted plant” an insult? Not necessarily. Researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Göttingen, both in Germany, have concluded that plants can evaluate risks, consider changing circumstances and make complex decisions. They reached this conclusion after studying barberry shrubs that were aborting their own seeds as a way of preventing parasite infestation. Not everyone may accept the idea that this actually constitutes intelligent behavior. The work was published in American Naturalist, an academic journal.
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