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We eat, sleep and breathe plants so why are we blind to them?

On Monday 13th April, Dr M appeared at Cafe Scientifique a joint venture between The British Science Association Thames Valley Branch and the University of Reading at Monroes Rock Bar St Mary’s Butts, Reading Town Centre.

Cafe Scientifique is the place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (beer if you’re Dr M), anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. It is a forum for debating scientific issues, and is committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable.  Everyone is welcome to ask a question or make a comment. You don’t need to be a scientist to enjoy the evening – just come with an open and enquiring mind. Admission is free, all welcome.


Dr M’s session tackled the issue of “plant blindness” amongst the human species, that is the tendency for people to see ‘nothing’ when they look at plants.

In the western world, if we notice plants at all, it is to emphasise the negatives, the pernicious weeds, the alien invasives and the poisonous plants, in fact these days we hardly dare let our children out of the house for fear they will be overwhelmed by triffids or poisoned to death by evil-looking plant monsters!

But plants are the basis of all life on earth and we ignore them at our peril. And, as Dr M emphasised, plants are intrinsically beautiful and fascinating in their own right and what we need to do is relearn the ancient art of looking and seeing!

Dr M’s session introduced the concept of plant blindness and illustrated the importance, value and beauty of plants through twelve themes.

Dr M concluded with some words on how each of us can contribute to the curing of global plant blindness and will take questions and comments from the floor and plant-based beverages from the bar!

Dr M says:  Full text and links and images to follow soon…



Image credits:

Wilderness Awareness School

Gatsby Plants at the University of Leeds 


John Innes Centre: Plants and Us


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