From the stunning heights of Utah’s Great Basin Desert to the rainforests of west coast Canada, Smarty Plants follows lead scientist and ecologist JC Cahill as he treks the green world and discovers that plants are a lot more like animals than we ever imagined. The world he reveals is one where plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their enemies, call in insect allies to fight those enemies, recognize their relatives and nurture their young. All of which leads to the inevitable question – is it possible that plants are smarter than we think?
Plants represent some of the strangest and longest living life forms on the planet. We’ve counted and classified them. We’ve even unlocked the secrets of their photosynthesizing powers. But overall, it’s been far more interesting to study the animal world because animals move and demonstrate behavior, if not outright intelligence. Plants, on the other hand, just sit there. Or do they?
Directed by Erna Buffie (One Ocean, Drug Deals, The Pill) Smarty Plants features global locations, spectacular time-lapse photography and CGI, and new scientific discoveries from a team of globetrotting scientists including: Suzanne Simard (University of British Columbia); Ian Baldwin (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology); Consuelo De Moraes (Penn State); Mark Mescher (Penn State); Susan Dudley (McMaster); Ray Callaway (University of Montana).
This film uncovers the real “secret world” of plants and reveals a landscape pulsing with sex, movement, communication, and social interaction. This is a world where plants talk, forage, wage war and protect their kin; a world where plants behave a lot like us.
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International Broadcast Version / DVD - 50 min
PBS Nature - 52 min (title: What Plants Talk About)
CBC Version - 44 min
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