Darwin Plant Music Engine
An educational science-art project!
Darwin’s plant-music engine is an introduction, a “branch” if you will, to the emerging science of plant signalling and communication. Charles Darwin wrote several books on senses and movement of plants, the last of which was co-authored with his son Francis.
“… It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the tip of the radicle thus endowed, and having the power of directing the movements of the adjoining parts, acts like the brain of one of the lower animals; the brain being seated within the anterior end of the body; receiving impressions from the sense organs, and directing the several movements.”
Despite advances in technology allowing the measurement of plant communication via chemical and electrical means the idea that plants may be something more than attractive scenery remains difficult to accept for many of the non-photosynthetic persuasion!
My own interest in this area began with studies of micro-algae – especially observing the behaviour of the actively mobile species. This also contributed to a satirical science fiction novel by my alter-ego MK Nadall about the implications when invading aliens are both intelligent and photosynthetic.
Imagine then, in an alternative steampunk era, Darwin didn’t just research the abilities of plants, but manufactured plant-song engines for the wealthy plant-lover to better commune with their green companions. This one must have slipped through an eddy in the space-time continuum!