The Secret World of Plants

The Secret World of Plants

2004, Nature  -   8 Comments
Ratings: 7.46/10 from 100 users.

Plants have marked the evolution of life and continue to fulfill an essential role in a balanced ecology. For millions of years, plants have created habitat in which animals could develop. They are the first link in a long chain of life, but the job of the silent green army that takes care of the planet has not been easy. They have had to develop survival strategies which contain surprising secrets, evolutionary secrets that guarantee their reproduction, secrets that make things striking and secrets that turn them into terrifying traps, magnificent giants and hidden assassins.

Despite the fact that the secrets behind their chemistry hold the origin of one out of every four medicines that we use, some plants cannot survive on nutrients from the soil alone. They are carnivorous plants, able to create appetizing bait in order to obtain food. Their traps are especially designed for invertebrates, which are attracted to them because of their smell and are quickly deceived.

The Venus flytrap is very deceptive. It has two sensitive leaves that act like jaws, which close upon their trophies. A relative of the Venus flytrap, the Sundew has a different way of hunting. The glands on its leaves secrete a false nectar that attracts certain insects. They are trapped in a sticky liquid and they become a meal.

Insects are trapped in different ways according to the species. Nepenthes have a gel like structure and a lid that closes airtight, which prevents their trapped prey from escaping. Other carnivorous plants accumulate a lethal liquid that drowns their victims, which are absorbed by the digestive fluids of the plant. The opening on the border of the plant hides a trap. The creases make the victims lose their balance and fall into a kind of mouth-stomach cavity and there is no way out. When they are lucky, their prey is quite large, which is attracted by the contents of the dangerous receptacle. In nature, death for some means life for others.

Mosquitoes know to wait for the rain to come, when these fearsome plants fill up with water, creating the perfect place for them to protect their eggs. This is where the larvae of this terrible propagator of diseases develop, under the protection of the beautiful and attractive capsule of life or death.

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2 years ago

I too found the female's voice stiff and without life.

2 years ago

I really wanted to like this film, but it was unwatchable because of the narrator’s truly sounds like a computer generated voice. A female voice, very stilted. I made it twelve minutes in before I had to just stop because that artificial sounding voice bothered me so much. Where’s David Attenborough when you need him!

9 years ago

What about the intelligence of plants? Avoiding a discussion on evolution, don't strategies alone testify, for any life form, for implied intelligence? This never gets talked about. To expand, it's left out of the evolution debate altogether and intelligence simply becomes to mean intellect and 'self-awareness.' Also what is the nature of consciousness for a plant? Can a plant have consciousness? I would say it most certainly does but have no idea how to argue for it other than by suggesting that consciousness is found at the DNA level. Above that what can anyone say? I wonder what it's like to be a coconut palm. I know what it's like to be a coconut head.
Why on earth did this doc have to include extraneous info on life forms other than plants? Please read the title again. Shaman discovering hallucinogenic properties of plants is not the plants' secret world, but the shamans'. Also I wasn't too cool on the narrator referring to 'Bushmen' (considered derogatory) as (and I paraphrase) cute and friendly fun-loving little rascals. From what I know hardly any from this complex society live in the desert anymore and most of their dancing is staged for tourists. It ain't just plants that are going extinct- these folks may literally be our Adam and Eve.
I didn't learn much new from this doc and the photography was less than average. I guess not everything can be like 'Planet Earth.'

Alv V
9 years ago

This made me fall asleep. Just woke up and the movie is done playing. Hopefully it's stored somewhere in the subconsciousness.

Good thing to see the possibility to rate films, been thinking of that before, that it would make the website a lot better if it was possible to search on documentaries by user rating. Adding things like official awards could be another thing too. I've seen many things that didn't seem like much that was great, and even more of things I shouldn't have wasted my time with.

9 years ago

A good one! Pleasant. I believe who ever made this doc. compiled it form several other docs already out. I have seen parts of this doc elsewhere?

I wonder about hallucinogenics, if they can "Alter our thinking and perception? I mean are hallucinogenics blocking our "normal thought process" allowing thoughts like dreams to emerge? Drugs don't have thoughts in them or at least I don't believe they do? I am just wondering if someone out there in La La land has some input on what exactly happens in the process to cause the mind to alter its "normal" process and actually cause visions to appear etc?

I know why THC does what it does. It blocks reference points so time slows to a stand still. Example, When you took a trip in a car somewhere you have never been before you have no ref. so it seams like it takes forever. When you come back from that trip it takes no time at all because of ref. points along the way. It does that internally with the thought process on THC. I think sometimes nature has done a trick on us. When we are young time last forever so young people are more inclined to "waste time"? At my age now a year is like a weekend and I mean that!

9 years ago

Interesting, low-key... even when the 3rd and 4th fifths of it are devoted to hallucinogenic drugs.