No brainer behavior

No brainer behavior

Messages, memory, maybe even intelligence — botanists wrangle over how far plants can go

By Susan Milius, 10:07 AM June 4, 2009

In a somewhat different world, Consuelo M. De Moraes would be revolutionizing vampire fiction.

Her lab at Penn State University studies predators that entangle prey in a tight embrace, pierce victims’ tissue and suck out nourishment. In the last few years, De Moraes and her colleagues have found that the predators even hunt down prey by scent.

Creepy as her predator, Cuscuta pentagona, is, it is also, frankly, a plant. Better known as five-angled dodder, its orange tentacles bypass the porcel...

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