Plant blindness

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Plant blindness is a form of cognitive bias, which in its broadest meaning, is a human tendency to ignore plant species. This includes such phenomena as not noticing plants in the surrounding environment, not recognizing the importance of plant life to the whole biosphere and to human affairs, a philosophical view of plants as an inferior form of life to animals and/or the inability to appreciate the unique features or aesthetics of plants.[1]

There have been made suggestions by scientists that the reason some people don't notice plants is because a majority of them are stationary and similarly coloured, although other research has suggested that plant blindness is affected by cultural practices.[2] A US study looked at how plants and animals are perceived using "attentional blink" (the ability to notice one of two rapidly presented images).[3] This showed that participants more accurately detected images of animals than plants and suggested possible strategies for characterizing and overcoming zoocentrism.[4][clarification needed]

Potentially linked to nature deficit disorder and plant blindness, a limited interest in plants is resulting in fewer plant biology courses around the world and reduced public funding for plant science.[3]


The term was coined in 1999 by botanists James Wandersee and Elisabeth Schussler.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allen, William (1 October 2003). "Plant Blindness". BioScience. American Institute of Biological Sciences. 53 (10): 926. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2003)053[0926:PB]2.0.CO;2.
  2. ^ Dasgupta, Shreya (27 September 2016). "Can Plant Blindness Be Cured?". Pacific Standard.
  3. ^ a b c Christine Ro of International Institute for Environment and Development (April 29, 2019). "Why 'plant blindness' matters — and what you can do about it". BBC Future. BBC. Retrieved April 30, 2019.