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Publisher's Summary

An accessible and compelling story of a scientist's discovery of plant communication and how it influenced her research and changed her life.

In this "phytobiography" - a collection of stories written in partnership with a plant - research scientist Monica Gagliano reveals the dynamic role plants play in genuine firsthand accounts from her research into plant communication and cognition. By transcending the view of plants as the objects of scientific materialism, Gagliano encourages us to rethink plants as people - beings with subjectivity, consciousness, and volition, and hence having the capacity for their own perspectives and voices. The audiobook draws on up-close-and-personal encounters with the plants themselves, as well as plant shamans, indigenous elders, and mystics from around the world and integrates these experiences with an incredible research journey and the groundbreaking scientific discoveries that emerged from it. 

Gagliano has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers on how plants have a Pavlov-like response to stimuli and can learn, remember, and communicate to neighboring plants. She has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics, for the first time experimentally demonstrating that plants emit their own "voices" and, moreover, detect and respond to the sounds of their environments. By demonstrating experimentally that learning is not the exclusive province of animals, Gagliano has reignited the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical and legal standing. This is the story of how she made those discoveries and how the plants helped her along the way.

©2018 Monica Gagliano (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“In this revelatory new book, we are brought into the presence of gifted storytellers in three different forms: a scientist, traditional plant practitioners, and the plants themselves. Gagliano’s discoveries uproot assumptions about the plant world as insensate, revealing their capacities to listen, learn and remember. This is a compelling story of discovery at many levels, simultaneously personal, scientific, and spiritual. It will change the way you see the world.” (Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, SUNY distinguished teaching professor, director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, and author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants)

“Beautifully written and thought provoking, this book brings to light the relationship of an accomplished evolutionary ecologist deeply rooted in Western science and culture, and some plant species, which guide her through dreams and visions with the support of indigenous wise women and men. An inspiration for those willing to listen to the many voices of nature, living as we are in an animated intelligent world we are rapidly destroying.” (Luis Eduardo Luna, author of Vegetalismo: Shamanism Among the Mestizo Population of the Peruvian Amazon, and coauthor of Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman

“In part guided by indigenous shamans, in part by the author’s own cultivated receptivity, Gagliano dives into isolation with various plant species which have been recognized as having strong voices that humans can hear. She consults with plants that give specific instructions about how to prove botanical consciousness in both the seen and unseen worlds.” (Kathleen Harrison, MA, ethnobotanist, Botanical Dimensions) 

Featured Article: The Best Audiobooks to Feed Your Ever Growing Plant Obsession


Plant ownership has experienced a huge spike over the past two years, and it’s easy to understand why. Plants are one of the best ways to experience nature from the comfort of your own home. With such a wide variety of plants appropriate for all skill levels, almost anyone can jump in. Rather than write ourselves off as hopelessly black-thumbed, many more of us are becoming confident in our ability to keep our green friends alive and thriving.

What listeners say about Thus Spoke the Plant

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Slightly disappointed

This book was not exactly unpleasant to listen to, but slightly disappointing as it was not at all that expected. As someone who is a member of an Asian indigenous group with a godmother who was a shaman, I was truly looking forward to this.

I grew up surrounded by plants and in a culture that revered plants thus it was no surprise that I developed a deep love and respect for them. It is in my belief that they are capable of awareness and intelligence we have yet to fully understand and that their world is filled with fascinating secrets to be discovered. Not only that, but plants and all living creatures are interconnected in a very real way. In recent years, there is great progress made in this front by some truly amazing scientists who dared to venture. We now know so much more about plants and their senses and intelligence. This will allow people to rethink plants once again as living beings that they are, endowed with their own unique intelligence and awareness.

This book could have so much potential to convey this truth, yet fell short to do so. Instead, it appears to be filled with the author going on too many psychedelic trips with plants based hallucinogens and conversing with plant spirits—something I didn't expect at all from the premise. Not only that, but the author presented herself as something of the "chosen" one which unfortunately came across too egotistic. The book is filled with a vivid and somewhat tiring description of the psychedelic trips she had gone on peppered with a few of her experiments which I wish she would elaborate on more. In addition to that, she seems to express her own opinion (in a rather preachy manner) on social, political, and economic issues and pass it off as the messages of the plant spirits which I thought to be out of place.

I think plants are wonderful and wise just as they are and we can sense that by being with them and appreciate their ways and their form of intelligence. I don't personally believe we have to go on hallucinogenic trips to be able to sense that. I was hoping this book would enlighten me more on the scientific works being one at the forefront of scientific studies of plant intelligence, behavior, and awareness. And while the author did about a few experiments conducted, it was mostly distracted with her musing.

Having that said, I still appreciate what the author is doing and her contribution to the scientific understanding of plants.

22 people found this helpful

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Excellent book

I’ve been searching for such a book for a long time. It came as a gift of knowledge and inspiration to continue the path of realisation and of sharing the experience that we are one with nature. I strongly recommend it to anyone.

4 people found this helpful

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whisper

the story was great, the narrator was fine until she started whispering. unless I had my headphones in I couldn't hear her when she starts whispering. it was really annoying and my volume was all the way up.
but other than that it was good!

3 people found this helpful

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Great mix of real science and shamanic journeying.

As others are burning and annihilating our rain forests Monika is shifting perceptions to a more sane world.

3 people found this helpful

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Awe inspiring

Time and time again real knowledge (break throughs) are by those that come at this reality from a different perspective. This is one of those stories. Monica’s experiments may be replicated by millions of students world wide. Regardless of the method of discovery, this is a great story. Listen attentively. Great.

2 people found this helpful

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incredible insights and wisdom

I went looking for a book exactly like this and then found this to my delight.
I am so grateful for this book and its practical insights and generous scientific notations. The unification of deep wisdom and adequate science makes for a magical and nourishing read and I will fully appreciate this book every time I re-read it. Looking for more like this and also from Suzanne Simard!(audio)....

Thank you for your commitment to bring this book / audio through the birth process and into reality and observable quantifiable reality

we are blessed.

2 people found this helpful

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An amazing catalog of stories for self-discovery

an amazing story helped me see the inside with my true self would recommend it over and over again

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Biologist turns shaman

An interesting take of a woman who seems to make a transition from marine biologist to plant shaman via a series of sensory/cognition experiments on plants and through the use of traditional plant medicines. This book challenges conventional scientific knowledge in a thought provoking manner that Grant's inspiration for shedding the reductionist trappings of materialism in favor of more animistic approach.

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Good but falls short of being wholly captivating.

While the premise was extremely promising, crux of the research was overridden by the philosophizing and proselytizing of the author's views of the world.

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An authentic voice

The personal story of a human listening and sharing messages from plant teachers. Monica describes her scientific research experiments and her experiences with traditional indigenous practices and how they are connected. Beautifully written and narrated.

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  • mat
  • 10-02-19

not to sure

I actually felt like the writer of the book was high as a kite on drugs for most of her writing and was quite dim to listen to

4 people found this helpful

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  • David Thornton
  • 11-19-19

Astounding

This is a truly amazing collection of story’s and scientific evidence that will blow away your old pre-formed ideas of what you think plants are and what humans relations can be to them!!

10/10

3 people found this helpful

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  • matt wallden
  • 05-22-19

A brief, insightful and much needed dive Into deeper realities

A brave, insightful and much needed dive into deeper realities of the very fabric of life. Monica Gagliano courageously integrates her doctoral and post doctoral studies on plant intelligence with her shamanic and meditative subjective experiences with the plant spirits themselves. In spite of centuries of anthropologists identifying that Shamans derived medicinal concoctions from their conversations with plants, and even published literature showing that much of the medicine found in westernised pharmacies is derived from these very conversations, there have been few serious academics to explore and publish their findings using a combination of the rational mind and the imaginal,intuitive faculties. Monica Gagliano is to be commended for taking this bold and holistic step.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mabulza Ritchie
  • 10-10-21

Drug addled author

was expecting to find out more about the science of plant communication. It is real and recently discovered but this book will leave you thinking it's all about a spiritual journey of narcotics. Not an easy listen either.

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  • Esther Joy Bowles
  • 02-10-20

eye-opening, heart-opening

this book opened a possibility for me and for our planet... that maybe all is not lost, but that plants may be out allies in wanting to save the Earth, but we just need to learn how to listen... thank you Monica for your courage to walk in both worlds at once...

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-27-19

One of the best books I have ever read

Monica Gagliano addresses both mind and deeper layers of us with this book. Here experiments are really interesting and her results clearly asking for a change of our approach to plants and all life on this planet in general. The messages she got from the plants directly have touched me deeply. Give it a go!

2 people found this helpful

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  • ashley
  • 07-11-19

Brilliant book

loved this book. A great story also very educational in a simple way to understand

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-03-20

incredible

an amazing personal account of the interconnectedness of life.
brilliantly narrated humble words of wisdom

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-20

so lovely. the way is open

theres an energy that seems to be chasing people. i feel it is only felt by a few at this moment in linear time. this book is a great key to understanding in a way but more surrendering to the joy of this energy. reformation of the conscious mind to undo thousands of years programming of seperation from the green world. this book takes one back to a hearty place where life is fulfilling once more. a must read for those seeking a way out of consumer materialism reductionist theory Newtonian logic and Euclidean geospacial conformity. a joyous of joy joy joy to listen too. thankyou Monica and thank the gods the sacred ones the plants and fungi have not abandoned us dispite our ignorance and horrifying unnatural practices. a new hope