Replanting

Re: "Plant Neurobiology Sprouts Anew."1 Your readers should know that E.J. Lund and colleagues in the Department of Biophysics at Austin, Texas, published a book entitled Bioelectric Fields and Growth University of Texas Press) in 1947. Also, while Tompkins and Bird's The Secret Life of Plants (Harper & Row, 1973) did sell well and influence the thinking of the lay public, its message was effectively debunked by a subsequent article entitled "The not-so-secret life of plants."2 This article

Arthur Galston(arthur.galston@yale.edu)
Sep 11, 2005

Re: "Plant Neurobiology Sprouts Anew."1 Your readers should know that E.J. Lund and colleagues in the Department of Biophysics at Austin, Texas, published a book entitled Bioelectric Fields and Growth University of Texas Press) in 1947. Also, while Tompkins and Bird's The Secret Life of Plants (Harper & Row, 1973) did sell well and influence the thinking of the lay public, its message was effectively debunked by a subsequent article entitled "The not-so-secret life of plants."2 This article was followed shortly by a public session at an AAAS meeting at which the "electrophysiological" work of Cleve Backster, a lie-detector source of much of the work cited by Tompkins and Bird, was negated by the published experiments of others.

Plant bioelectrics does have a solid scientific base in the published literature and can be expected to provide interesting new findings in the future, but it is unlikely that the term "plant neurobiology" will do the field much good.

Arthur W. GalstonYale University New Haven, CT arthur.galston@yale.edu