Plant behaviour in response to the environment: information processing in the solid state

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham


Information processing and storage underpins many biological processes of vital importance to organism survival. Like animals, plants also acquire, store and process environmental information relevant to their fitness, and this is particularly evident in their decision-making. The control of plant organ growth and timing of their developmental transitions are carefully orchestrated by the collective action of many connected computing agents, the cells, in what could be addressed as distributed computation. Here, we discuss some examples of biological information processing in plants, with special interest in the connection to formal computational models drawn from theoretical frameworks. Research into biological processes with a computational perspective may yield new insights and provide a general framework for information processing across different substrates. This article is part of the theme issue 'Liquid brains, solid brains: How distributed cognitive architectures process information'.


Original languageEnglish
Article number20180370
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Issue number1774
Early online date22 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2019


  • biological computation, computational networks, connectome, information processing, plant